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Apache Crews Promote Air-Ground Integration

CAMP TAJI, Iraq --- A well-rounded knowledge of how assets work for a unit can become a force multiplier. Soldiers working on the ground can be limited, so adding aviation support to their mission increases the distance they can see and the firepower available.

But knowing the in-depth details on how to use these air assets is not common knowledge - that is when the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade steps in.

Working to help build air-ground integration, the aviators of 1st ACB, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division - Baghdad, sat down and discussed the abilities of the AH-64D Apache attack helicopter with Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 107th Cavalry Regiment of the Ohio National Guard, during an air-ground integration workshop Aug. 10.

"We are building trust [and] relationships - trying to let the ground [brigade combat teams] know that the 1st Air Cav. is here to support them," said Capt. Charles Disston, commander of Company C, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st ACB.

Educating the ground commander on what the aircraft is capable of doing is important. That way the ground Soldiers can effectively use the Apaches' capabilities to their utmost ability, said Disston.

The workshop started off with some classroom instruction where the 2-107th Cav. Soldiers learned the in and out of the Apache - focusing on capabilities that can benefit their mission.

Next, they headed out to the flight line to sit in the aircraft to get a feel for what the pilots see and deal with when they are called to support their brethren on the ground.

For a unit just coming into Iraq, the Soldiers in 2-107th Cav., appreciated the willingness of the aviators to inform them on how to call on the Apaches and bring them to the battle.

"This meeting showed us that the Apaches are available, the crews are willing to do their jobs and how we can utilize the aircraft during convoy operations," said 2nd Lt. Martin Crowe, from Columbus, Ohio, a convoy commander in 2-107th Cav.

One of the biggest things learned was how close the weapon systems of the Apache can shoot near friendly forces without causing damage to them, it is a major difference from artillery, Crowe said.

"They are going to get in there and do their job, it is a sense of security," said Crowe.

Once the 2-107th Cav. troopers were pulled away from the Apache and the workshop, they had a better understanding of what battlefield capabilities they now harness from the ground.

"If I was going to attack an American convoy and saw Apaches coming, I would probably think twice before I did anything," said Crowe.


Apache Crews Promote Air-Ground Integration