Army aviators become sea warriors

| February 7, 2014 | 0 Comments
Sailors aboard the USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), a guided-missile destroyer, signal to a 25th CAB Black Hawk for a safe deck landing qualification during Operation Koa Kai, held off the coast of Kauai, Jan. 22-31.

Sailors aboard the USS Michael Murphy (DDG 112), a guided-missile destroyer, signal to a 25th CAB Black Hawk for a safe deck landing qualification during Operation Koa Kai, held off the coast of Kauai, Jan. 22-31.

Story and photos by
Staff Sgt. William Sallette
U.S. Army-Pacific Public Affairs

KAUAI, Hawaii — The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, added a different twist to the primary joint training exercise Koa Kai 14-1 around the islands of Kauai and Ni‘ihau, Jan. 22-31.

Participating units included Hawaii and San Diego-based surface ships and submarines, as well as aviation forces from the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

They conducted integrated flight operations, anti-surface and anti-submarine training.

Sailors chalk and chain a Black Hawk onto the USS Michael Murphy off the coast of Kauai, Jan. 29.

Sailors chalk and chain a Black Hawk onto the USS Michael Murphy off the coast of Kauai, Jan. 29.

One of the major changes to this year’s exercise was integrating the 25th CAB helicopters aboard Navy ships.

“Koa Kai provides an opportunity to exercise multiple warfare disciplines to ensure our ships maintain warfighting readiness and the capability to operate forward on short notice,” said Rear Adm. Rick Williams, commander, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific and Navy Region Hawaii. “Koa Kai is integrated, challenging, state-of-the-art training for our sea warriors here in the middle Pacific that helps us achieve full deployment readiness.”

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25th CAB conducted multiple operations throughout the exercise, including transport, security, medevac and scout operations with OH-58D Kiowa Warrior and UH-60 and HH-60 Black Hawk airframes.

Koa Kai demonstrates the Army’s contribution to the U.S. Pacific Fleet’s forward readiness as it prepares Middle Pacific ships to meet current and future challenges as part of the rebalance to Indo-Asia-Pacific.

“The 25th CAB supported the joint exercise through movement of personnel from ship to shore, conducting deck landing qualifications to build our capabilities for future navy integration operations and conducting operations with our scout weapons teams. … (They) provide the Navy with security and reconnaissance when they do movement through transits or confined areas, as well as countering small boats and special operations forces,” said Maj. Mark Fulmer, 25th CAB assistant operations officer.

Planning for the exercise began more than a year ago, and this occasion is the ninth iteration of the exercise.

“We’re extremely pleased with the level of commitment from the joint commands on island to support Koa Kai 14-1,” said Capt. Chris Bushnell, commander, Destroyer Squadron 31, adding that participation of all the supporting commands added great value and depth to the exercise.

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Category: News, Training

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