Fort Rucker , Ala. – On a rainy Tuesday morning Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, poured into the Directorate of Simulation building at Fort Rucker Ala.
The aviation training exercise, Operation Flight Horizon, began Sept. 20, 2011, and ended Sept. 27. It aimed to test the nearly 2,000-troop brigade mobilized in support of Operation New Dawn.“Every Soldier in this brigade is highly motivated to accomplish the mission,” said Col. David Carey, 29th CAB commander. “The mission in Iraq and the mission in the theater is important to the U.S. national interest.”
Post-mobilization training benefits every Soldier from the newest private to seasoned veteran with multiple deployments. Soldiers qualified with their individual weapons, rollover training, and other training necessary to be ready to perform the mission. The ATX was the culminating training event for the 29th CAB’s staff sections.
“I feel like I’m proficient in working on the Command Post of the Future, but we had the opportunity to cross train other Soldiers . . . and I got to cross train on other things too,” said Spc. Amanda King, a 29th CAB aviation operations specialist.
The ATX allowed the CAB to examine its coordination with its subordinate units in a collective training environment. It offered a unique opportunity for the commander to perfect the unit’s aviation centric planning and execution capabilities in order to best support the ground commander.
The 166th Aviation Brigade evaluated the ATX to certify that the unit could successfully complete its mission. During the exercise, the unit dealt with medical and casualty evacuations, downed aircraft, air assaults, Red Cross messages, as well as troop and VIP transport.
“All the things that we would deal with in theater, the evaluators would inject into the scenario so our staff could exercise its processes. Then the evaluators could determine if we were doing it correctly,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard, 29th CAB command sergeant major. “To me, the exercise proved what I already knew. . . . It validated in my mind that were capable of being an aviation brigade, and we are ready to deploy.”