A U.S. Army aircrew assigned to Company B, 6th General Support Aviation Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) position a Boeing CH-47 Chinook above an M1151 high mobility multipurpose wheeled vehicle as 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Abn. Div. soldiers prepare for sling load operations. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Andre McClure
The U.S Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) just showcased its capabilities in rapid response and vertical envelopment. The Army said the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team and 101st Combat Aviation Brigade recently conducted a brigade-level air assault operation at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
During the operation, the Screaming Eagles were able to project force in a non-linear and non-contiguous battle space, the Army said. Brigades were also able to test mission command systems, integrate and synchronize enablers, clear airspace and fires, and control the movement of multiple units simultaneously toward an objective.
"This is a unique capability that we provide the Army," said Col. John P. Cogbill, 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division commander. "To be able to conduct an air assault operation deep into the enemy territory, to capitalize on surprise, shock affect, audacity, and present the enemy with multiple dilemmas on any possible battlefield."
This type of large-scale operation requires extensive planning, synchronization and rehearsals, he continued. Building repetition in air assault operations helps to increase proficiency and overall readiness.
"As the Army's only air assault division, we have to be the standard bearers for this type of operation, so this is something that takes practice," he said. "This is just another iteration, as we build that readiness, to be able to provide this capability to the Army."
As the operation began, the Army said, forces entered snow-covered landing zones, helicopter by helicopter. Squads of ground-troops fanned out to secure objectives. The Army said that the 3rd BCT soldiers rapidly built combat power as Boeing AH-64 Apaches and artillery engaged the enemies.
"This training is important because it tests all levels of leadership across the division to come together and get the mission done," said Spc. Dustin Frost, an infantryman with Company C, 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd BCT, 101st Airborne Division. "From aviation down to us, the infantry."