By Spc. Monica K. Smith, 3rd CAB, 3rd ID Public AffairsJune 11, 2009
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - The more moving pieces in a mission, the more difficult it can be to keep order.
Finding organization in the midst of what seems like chaos was one of the many goals of Task Force Viper during their two weeks of Falcon Focus at Camp McGregor, Fort Bliss, Texas.
Aca,!A"The purpose for Task Force Viper was to conduct realistic training focused on challenging aircrews on missions at altitude with mixed airframes, while incorporating fire and maneuver techniques they will encounter in future deployments,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Mike Musiol, commander of Task Force Viper. Aca,!A"By using this approach, we were able to standardize procedures and gain a greater understanding of the capabilities and limitations of each aircraft.Aca,!A?
The Vipers followed Task Force Lighthorse as the second task force to participate in Falcon Focus, a training event in which the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, sends three of their battalions and the one squadron as individual task forces. Each task force is outfitted with aircraft from the other battalions and squadron, making the task forces homogeneous.
Aca,!A"The mixed teaming forced the aircrews to brief every phase of the operation instead of simply relying on the standard procedures organic to each individual company,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Musiol. Aca,!A"To be able to accomplish this in a safe and efficient manner is a testament to the men and women of Task Force Viper.Aca,!A?
The culminating exercise involved two Chinooks, three Black Hawks, an Apache, a Kiowa Warrior and a MEDEVAC helicopter working with Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 37th Armor Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, who are stationed at Fort Bliss.
Aca,!A"The most challenging mission we will most likely conduct is an air movement of ground personnel,Aca,!A? said Lt. Col. Musiol. Aca,!A"The exercises we conducted allowed us to execute the air assault planning process with detailed planning and rehearsals, while integrating all aircraft into the mission, executing mixed aircraft teaming, close combat attacks, medical evacuation operations, responding to a fleeting target, and eventually conducting an exfiltration of the ground element. The integration with an actual ground maneuver commander conducting command and control of a large volume of aircraft in a confined battle space and tracking the mission in the (tactical operations center) was the goal.Aca,!A?
By the end of the mission, many Soldiers said they believed the training went well. For Spc. Sven Bowsher, HHC, 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, who works in the flight operations office, the multi-aircraft training was educational.
Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs very seldom that we get to do this kind of training,Aca,!A? said Spc. Bowsher, who has deployed twice in his six years in the Army. Aca,!A"During a regular (field training exercise), we donAca,!a,,ct really get to see what actually happens. We donAca,!a,,ct see how long it takes for MEDEVAC to spool up and go, or how long it takes for all the units to work together. This was the closest training to deployment IAca,!a,,cve ever seen.Aca,!A?