CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait -- There are possible enemy troops in the area, Soldiers are injured and black smoke signals mark the extraction site as the 1st Battalion, 244th Aviation Regiment (Assault), 449th Combat Aviation Brigade medical evacuation helicopters approach. This was the training scenario for those participating in the combined arms live fire exercise marking the end of U.S. Central Command Commander's Conference Army Day at Udairi Range, Kuwait, Feb. 9, 2018.
Army Day was comprised of CENTCOM key leaders, service component command teams and Kuwaiti counterparts in order to demonstrate to the CENTCOM commanders the complexity and depth of U.S. Army Central Command's mission and responsibilities in theater.
"Being able to prepare for an event of this size as well as maintain our existing operational tempo for day-to-day operations was certainly a challenge," said Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Todd Hammett, UH-60 Black Hawk pilot. "Everyone pulled together and worked through obstacles, especially our maintainers."
Army Day encompassed numerous training events and was attended by multiple distinguished visitors to include U.S. Army Gen. Joseph L. Votel, commander of U.S. Central Command and U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, commanding general of Army Central Command. The CENTCOM commanders traveled from Ali Al-Salem airfield to various locations around Kuwait via rotary wing aircraft to observe the arrival, movement and maneuver of various teams supporting a unified training scenario.
To ensure key leaders did not miss events, assets from A Company, 1st Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, 449th Combat Aviation Brigade and A Company, 1-244th Assault Helicopter Battalion were tasked with providing air movement support. As the flight lead, Hammett was the primary planner for the event.The MEDEVAC operations were important because they simulated timely movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to wounded Soldiers being evacuated from the battlefield.
"Extensive planning went into this," said Hammett. "The 1-126th General Support Aviation Battalion and the 244th AHB worked together to ensure we had a solid plan and the resources to back it up. We did several rehearsals leading up to the day of execution in order to validate our plan and refine our methods."
The culminating live fire event included infantry, armor, artillery and aviation to demonstrate the coalition operations as Task Force Spartan. Army Day allowed TF Spartan to demonstrate its lethality, flexibility and interoperability.