Story and Photo by
Sgt. Daniel Schroeder
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
KANDAHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan — As Afghan National Security Forces begin to take the lead in providing security for the people of their country, coalition forces have moved towards more of a mentoring role when conducting joint combat missions.
In Regional Command-South, here, the Kandahar Air Wing has begun to take its first steps toward conducting operations on its own.
The Kandahar Air Wing executed its first air assault operation, here, Feb. 21, to disrupt and counter Taliban efforts.
“This was the first joint air assault the KAW planned and conducted,” said Capt. Douglas Kinkennon, commander, Company A, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division. “During the mission, the Kandahar Air Wing demonstrated proficiency with its aircraft. The air wing reacted well to some unexpected landing conditions.”
For the air assault, the 25th CAB provided its vast experience in mission planning to the Afghan Air Wing. Part of the experience included providing two, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters for reconnaissance and security.
“The Kiowas helped provide the KAW air crews to factor in air-to-air communication to confirm the landing zone location and status,” said Maj. Judah Lyons, plans, 25th CAB.
After the mission was complete, aircrews returned to the Kandahar Airfield to conduct an after-action review.
Lt. Col. Atuallah, squadron commander, KAW, said he was very pleased with the performance of his pilots during the planning, briefings, rehearsals, and with the success of the mission.
“All the elements involved were well prepared for the mission,” Lyons said. “Their confidence and ability to react to unexpected variables contributed to the success of the operation.”
According to Lyons, all units left the training with the highest confidence. Units left knowing their Soldiers were properly trained to fly the Mi-17 helicopter and to coordinate with multiple aircraft from different countries executing a combined air assault operation.