FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- The U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command (USASOAC) hosted a three-day conference that brought together Special Operations Aviation (SOA) members from nearly 20 U.S. partner nations, here, Sept. 26-28.
The International SOA Rotary Wing Conference is a partner-building event that focuses on educating partner nations about the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (SOAR) and USASOAC organizations in order to share expertise.
"It's exciting to see everyone join us here at Ft. Campbell," said Brig. Gen. John R. Evans, commanding general, USASOAC.
"One of the things I hope we get out of this is an opportunity to talk about how we are approaching our respective roles and our militaries against the threats that are out there right now," he said.
Evans welcomed the group by explaining the five Special Operations Forces "truths" that SOF organizations hold as tenet.
-Humans are more important than hardware.
-Quality is better than quantity.
-Special Operations Forces cannot be mass produced.
-Competent Special Operations Forces cannot be created after emergencies occur.
-Most Special Operations require non-SOF assistance.
"These are the things we focus on as we approach the threat, as we look to enhance and increase capability within our formations," said Evans. "These are the things that I think guide us in our discussions as we take a look at how we approach the world as a coalition of partners that are moving in the same direction."
Evans also encouraged the partner nation representatives to ask questions and create dialogue when the opportunity was available.
"You're going to have a chance to talk amongst yourselves, country to country, partners to U.S. military, U.S. military to our partners," he said.
Day one primarily consisted of an introduction to U.S. Army SOA, as well as USASOAC's subordinate commands, the 160th SOAR and the Special Operations Aviation Training Battalion.
The conference itinerary included a demonstration of "dunker training" at the Allison Aquatic Training Center. The group watched pool-side as an instructor and a safety officer were lowered into the training pool in darkness as fans were used to simulate high winds and rough water.
Every attendee was given opportunities in the MH60 Blackhawk, the MH47 Chinook and the MH6 Little Bird helicopter simulators.
There were also medical simulators, maintenance demonstrations and Aviation Life Support Equipment displays instructed and manned by subject matter experts from 160th SOAR.
Several representatives from the partner nations provided overviews about their respective organizations' equipment and operating procedures.
Social events offered opportunities for the partner nations to have discussions and improve relationships amongst the attendees.
Finally, attendees witnessed an aerial gunnery range where they were given tours and descriptions of the three air-frames.