By Spc. Matthew DiazJanuary 12, 2010
The first four of 24 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters landed Saturday at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield as part of a movement of Soldiers and equipment from Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, Ga.
The helicopters belong to 1-10 Attack Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, formerly 3-3 Aviation based in Savannah. These are the first Apaches based at Fort Drum in the post's history.
Capt. Lucas J. Lease, commander of D Company, 1-10 Aviation, said the new additions will allow the CAB to be more versatile.
"(Apaches) are an attack asset we can use within the brigade itself," Lease said.
"This gives us the opportunity to train much more often," said Capt. Dave Rosseau, commander of A Company, 1-10 Aviation.
The move from Georgia involves more than 400 Soldiers as well as the 24 aircraft. The Apaches did not physically come from Georgia. However, 1-10 Aviation's aircraft were all left behind during their last deployment for another unit. The aircraft that will be arriving over the next months are fresh off of the assembly line, either rebuilds, or brand new.
"For the Apache, this is going to be a test in the cold weather," Rosseau said.
"These aircraft are like going down and buying a 2010 car off the lot," said Lt. Col. Mike Slocum, 1-10 Aviation commander. "We like to joke and say they still have that new-car smell."
The move is slow going with only four aircraft arriving at a time.
"By the end of May, we'll have all of our aircraft here at Fort Drum," Slocum said.
The main goal of this move is balance. Fort Drum did not have a pure aviation attack element, and Hunter Army Airfield did not have an aviation cavalry-scout element; so the decision was made to rotate assets and allow for a medium attack plan in both units. In March, the battalion will begin dispersing the aircraft among the companies to allow for a modular attack plan within the brigade.