By Capt. Jaymon Bell (12th Combat Aviation Brigade)November 21, 2017
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, and Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade participated in Exercise Allied Spirit VII at the 7th Army Training Command's Training Area, here, from Oct. 30 to Nov. 22, 2017.
Allied Spirit VII is a force on force training exercise involving approximately 4,050 participants from 13 nations: Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The Lithuanian Motorized Infantry "Griffin" Brigade was the lead mission command element for the exercise and directed fire support, offensive, defensive and stability operations.
The eight AH-64 Apache's from 1st Bn., 3rd Avn. Regt., and four CH-47 Chinooks from 1st Bn., 214th Avn. Regt., made up the aviation task force that began the exercise from a tactical assembly area outside 40 Sierra. The secure gated area provided concrete parking pads for the helicopters and also concreted areas for hot and cold fueling.
This rotation focused on the battalion's ability to tactically move their operations center (TOC) and Forward Arming and Refueling Point (FARP) locations multiple times in a contested area with a near peer adversary.
"Our primary training objective was to conduct expeditionary operations as a battalion," said Chief Warrant Officer 3, Aaron Simbro, battalion master gunner, 1st Bn., 3rd Avn. Regt.. "Moving the TOC and FARP increases our tactical survivability."
The task force moved the TOC and FARP twice during the exercise and were only hindered from moving a third time by severe weather restrictions. The inability to fly the helicopters allowed the BN to develop a better area defense plan and use the engineer assets to dig in hardened fighting positions.
The AH-64 Apaches were used as elevated LP-OP positions by using the FLIR and Target Acquisition and Detection System on the helicopter to scan the area from a maintenance hover.
The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade trains and conducts aviation support across the full spectrum of unified land operations for United States Army Europe, European Command and our allied and NATO partners