Lightning Support Aegis goes live at PTA

| August 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
Soldiers with 536th Support Maintenance Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, maneuver down the convoy live fire range at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawai'i, on Aug. 10, while scanning their sectors for enemy activity. Lightning Support Aegis is designed to build confidence in combat logistics operations to prepare them for the division-level exercise Lightning Forge later this year.

A 536th Support Maintenance Company convoy maneuvers down the convoy live fire range at PTA,  Aug. 10, while scanning sectors for enemy activity. Lightning Support Aegis is designed to build confidence in combat logistics operations to prepare them for the division-level exercise Lightning Forge later this year.

 

Story and photos by Sgt. Ian Ives
25th Sustainment Brigade
25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA — A convoy commander gave the order and the beating of rotary wings became ever louder as helicopters from the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367 swooped in to provide close-combat attack support for Soldiers of the 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, during training exercise Lightning Support Aegis.

Lightning Support Aegis was designed to increase confidence, lethality and provide Lightning Support Soldiers with realistic combat simulations while working with Marine Corps Aviation during convoy live-fire operations throughout the months of August and September.

Pvt. Richard Henely, a Soldier with 25th Transportation Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, engages a target with the M2 machine gun during a convoy live fire exercise as part of training exercise Lightning Support Aegis at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawai'i, on Aug. 9, 2016. Lightning Support Aegis is designed to build confidence in combat logistics operations to prepare them for the division level exercise Lightning Forge later this year.

Pvt. Richard Henely, 25th Transportation Company, engages a target with the M2 machine gun, Aug. 9.

Lightning Support Soldiers were tasked with navigating a combat logistics convoy lane twice under simulated conditions in platoon-sized elements. The first run was performed using simulation ammunition and required Soldiers to react to real-world combat logistic scenarios: identifying improvised explosive devices, reacting to small-arms fire, providing first-aid and calling in medical evacuation for a combat casualty. The second iteration was with live ammo and focused on identifying and destroying hostile targets.

The training was set apart from other exercises with the addition of Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Southammavong, Joint-Terminal Attack Controller (J-TAC) with 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, who brought Marine Corps aviation assets to train with the 25th Sust. Bde. for the first time on convoy live fires.

“I provide the ground commanders with a baseline knowledge of aviation support and the best ways to employ those assets that will be organic to them,” Southammavong said.

The Marines brought two AH-1W Cobras and two UH-1Y Iroquois to the fight, providing the convoy with the firepower to engage armored enemy vehicles that it normally wouldn’t be able to counter. Using these aircraft gave the convoy the ability to have eyes in the sky, as well as the weapon systems to attack enemies at a greater distance.

“Exercises like this, where we can incorporate Marine Corps aircraft and Marine Corps J-TAC’s embedded in our convoy, gives us the practice to do what we do in austere environments,” said Dexter.

U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Anthony Loberg, a crew chief and door gunner for a UH-1Y Iroquois with the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, provides aerial over watch for a convoy of Soldiers (Top Left) with 25th Transportation Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, as they conduct a live fire exercise Aug. 11, at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawai'i. Lightning Support Aegis is designed to build confidence in combat logistics operations to prepare them for the division-level exercise Lightning Forge later this year.

Lance Cpl. Anthony Loberg, a crew chief and door gunner for a UH-1Y Iroquois with the Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 367, provides aerial over watch for a 25th Trans. Co. convoy as during a live fire exercise, Aug. 11.

For many Soldiers, working the Marines aviation was a new experience and gave them the opportunity to see how different branches of the military can support each other to accomplish a mission.

“The things that the Marine Corps Aviation can do in just a little amount of time could absolutely save our lives during a mission,” said Pvt. Richard Henely, motor transportation operator and M2 machine gun gunner, 25th Transportation Co., 524th Combat Sust. Spt. Bn., 25th Sust. Bde. “From providing machine gun cover to shooting Hydra missiles, it was an amazing experience.”

Lightning Support Aegis brought together two services that normally do not get the opportunity to work together. By the end of the training, the Army and Marine Corps were functioning together like a well-oiled machine. Sustainment Soldiers left PTA with confidence in their abilities in combat logistics and now have a full understanding of how to utilize air assets from other branches of the military.

“Overall, the training has helped me become more confident in pulling security during combat logistics operations and successfully getting supplies safely from point A to point B,” Henely said.

With Soldiers from 524th CSSB having cycled back to Schofield Barracks, Tuesday, they will be passing the torch to 25th Special Troops Battalion, 25th Sust. Bde., who will begin their training rotation starting in early September.

Following the completion of Lightning Support Aegis, the 25th Sust. Bde., will be ready to perform during this year’s division-level exercise, Lightning Forge.

A U.S. Marine Corps AH-1W Cobra flies side by side with a convoy from 25th Transportation Company, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, as they navigate the convoy live-fire lane Aug. 11, at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawai'i, during training exercise Lightning Support Aegis. Lightning Support Aegis is designed to build confidence in combat logistics operations to prepare them for the division level exercise Lightning Forge later this year. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Ian Ives, 25th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs /Released).

A  Marine Corps AH-1W Cobra flies side by side with the 25th Transportation Company.

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