By Sgt. Keven Parry, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Inf. Div. Public AffairsOctober 19, 2011
Soldiers from Task Force Nightmares, Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, conducted Downed Aircraft Recovery Team training at the range landing strip on Fort Riley Oct 12-13.
Two DART missions were carried out, one using an air recovery team, the other using a ground recovery team.
The air DART involved a AH-64 Apache helicopter landing at the range landing strip and shutting down in order to simulate a minor maintenance issue. A UH-60 Black Hawk flight crew was flying with the Apache. They relayed information to Marshall Army Airfield, where the recovery team waited to carry out their mission.
Once the DART received notification of a problem with the aircraft, they gathered the equipment needed to analyze the problem and recover the crew and aircraft.
"We grab the necessary parts, people, tools and come out here and try and fix it on site so they can fly back home," said Sgt. John Koones, a St. Cloud, Fla. native and a technical inspector with 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, CAB.
After ensuring that all necessary equipment and personnel were ready, the group of maintainers that formed the DART boarded two Black Hawks and flew to the Apache. Once on the ground, the DART members met with the Apache pilot and simulated correction of the maintenance issue.
The next day the ground DART operation was executed and combined with a FAT COW refueling operation involving CH-47 Chinook helicopters.
As the Chinook crews conducted their refuel mission, a DART was dispatched to analyze a simulated maintenance issue with one of the aircraft. This team responded using a ground convoy consisting of various recovery and transportation vehicles.
"This definitely helps us out with convoys and convoy operations," said Sgt. Joseph Dube, a Milford, New Hampshire native and an Apache team chief with 1-1 ARB.
The DART training was part of the multi-functional aviation task force training in preparation for a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
"It helps us come together and train as a task force in order to help us better prepare for contingencies around the world," said Cpt. Wilford Rose, an assistant S-3 with 1-1 and an AH-64 Apache pilot.
Task Force Nightmares is made up of aircraft and Soldiers from the 1-1, 2-1General Support Aviation Battalion, 3-1 Assault Helicopter Battalion, and the 601st Aviation Support Battalion.