By Cpt. John B. DavisApril 23, 2008
HOHENFELS, Germany -- Observer/Controllers at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center recently hosted eight separate countries in support of NATO Operational Mentor and Liaison Team training at the Hohenfels Training Area.
A key contribution to the NATO International Security Assistance Force mission towards developing the Afghan National Army, OMLTs are embedded throughout ANA ranks.
Falcon Team O/Cs, JMRC aviation trainers, integrated the "teach, coach, and mentor" philosophy by simulating both medical evacuation and Attack/Scout Gunships with their fleet of world-renowned UH-1 "Huey" helicopters. The aviation training accomplished several key training objectives including Air-to-Ground Integration, Medevac training, aviation planning, and close combat attack call-for-fire training.
Senior Falcon Team Mentor, Lt. Col. James Barker, who recently returned from a 15-month deployment as the 2nd Squadron, 6th Air Cavalry Regiment commander in Iraq, believes coached, realistic training is key in teaching OMLTs how to communicate with aviation forces. "It's our responsibility as aviation professionals to ensure these troops are trained and confident when working with aviation downrange," said Barker.
Each OMLT member had the opportunity to call for and "bring in" Medevac and attack aircraft, essential skills soldiers must grasp to successfully request air support in their often remote operating bases.
"We used to strive to get wounded Soldiers evacuated from the battlefield within the "Golden Hour" after he or she is wounded," said Barker. "Today, Army aviation's goal is to be there within 'Platinum Minutes.' "
OMLT Troops also called for attack aircraft support during Situational Training Exercise lanes when faced with opposing forces, skillfully portrayed by 1st Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment soldiers.
Capt. J.B. Davis, an OH58D Kiowa Warrior pilot and Falcon Team member, says consistency is of great importance when conducting aviation training and preparing for deployment. "There are never enough opportunities for these troops to work with real helicopters, Davis said. "As a result of integrating the Hueys into the training event, each of the OMLTs gained a greater understanding and confidence in integrating aviation assets as a combat multiplier."