Task Force Diamond Head returns from another successful Pacific Pathways rotation

| September 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
PATTAYA CITY, Thailand Ñ The pilots and crew chiefs of Task Force Diamond Head pass by Pattaya City, as they redeploy back to Sattahip Port after completing the Hanuman Guardian exercise in Thailand July 9. (Photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Gilliam, A Co, 2-25th Combat Aviation Brigade)

PATTAYA CITY, Thailand — Black Hawks of Task Force Diamond Head pass by Pattaya City as they redeploy back to Sattahip Port after completing the Hanuman Guardian exercise in Thailand July 9. (Photo by 1st Lt. Andrew Gilliam, 25th CAB)

1st Lt. Kacie Schoen
25th Combat Aviation Brigade
25th Infantry Division

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — This past summer, the 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, and several elements of 3rd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt. (both 25th Combat Avn. Brigade, 25th Infantry Division units), joined together to become Task Force Diamond Head for Pacific Pathways 16-02.

For Pathways 16-02, Soldiers of 2-25th joined forces with 2nd Stryker Bde. Combat Team, 2nd ID, out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. In each of these exercises, Task Force Diamond Head supported 2nd SBCT ground forces, conducted internal aviation training in foreign countries, and participated in joint training events and missions with their aviation counterparts in the partner nations.

1st Lt. Andrew Gilliam, Co A., 2-25th Avn. Regt., was one of the platoon leaders who participated in PP 16-02.

“I thought it was a great experience. I learned a lot more from Pacific Pathways than I have in any other major training event,” Gilliam said. “On Pathways, you run into and have to solve real-world problems. They aren’t made up or Army-generated, like it is in most Army training events. Usually, you are given constraints that you have to follow exactly. But with Pathways, you are required to solve those real issues with the limited resources you are given in a foreign country.”

KLUANG, Malaysia Ñ After a successful Paradrop Operation of U.S. Special Forces, Capt. Caitlin Withenbury, Staff Sgt. Manuel Parra and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonas Courneya pose for a picture with local Malaysian children who flocked to their landing site July 24. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel Parra, A Co., 2-25th Combat Aviation Brigade)

KLUANG, Malaysia — After a successful paradrop Special Forces, Capt. Caitlin Withenbury, Staff Sgt. Manuel Parra and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonas Courneya greet local Malaysian children who flocked to their landing site, July 24. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Manuel Parra, 25th CAB)

Many of the younger Soldiers are given the opportunity to travel, work closely with foreign militaries and experience being apart from their families for the first time, without being in a combat zone. Gilliam agreed with this, saying that “this was (his) first time out of the country with the military, leading Soldiers and interacting in a foreign environment. It’s a much better scenario to put Soldiers in to let them learn and grow in that sort of setting, without being truly deployed.”

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to go on Pacific Pathways 16-02. Working with our partner nations was great and afforded us the chance to learn from each other,” said Chief Warrant Officer Jeremiah Russell, who participated in Hanuman Guardian and Keris Strike.

“My favorite mission in Thailand was doing a mixed multi-ship flight with the Thai Mi-17, UH-72 and UH60M,” he explained. “In Malaysia, we got to do an air assault insertion of the Malay and U.S. Special Forces, which was really cool.”

Spc. Derek Warner, crew chief, A Co. 2-25 Avn. Regt., got to experience Hanuman Guardian and Garuda Shield and said he enjoyed participating in any air assault that integrated both U.S. and Indonesian forces.

“It was nice seeing how well we were working together and how quickly the Indonesian army picked up a new task,” Warner said.

The 25th CAB will continue to do joint training with partner nation militaries in the Pacific, building on its relations and developing Soldiers at all levels.

 

PP 16-02

Pacific Pathways is an Army initiative in which infantry and supporting units self-deploy to parts of the Pacific to establish a semi-permanent presence.

This virtually continuous existence of Army forces in the Pacific allows for quick reaction for humanitarian emergencies or threats in the area, as well as provide deep and complex engagements between the U.S. and partner nation armies.

PP 16-02 consisted of the three following exercises:

  • Hanuman Guardian (Thailand, June);
  • Keris Strike (Malaysia, July); and
  • Garuda Shield (Indonesia, August).
LOPBURI, Thailand Ñ Pilots from Alpha Company, 2-25 Aviation Regiment come together for a picture with Thai pilots and crew chiefs during a Cold Load training mission with 2-2 SBCT Soldiers and Thai Special Forces June 27. (Photo by CW2 Adam Ochoa, A Co, 2-25th Combat Aviation Brigade)

LOPBURI, Thailand — Thai and Alpha Company, 2-25th Aviation Regiment, pilots and crew chiefs gather during a Cold Load training mission with 2-2 SBCT Soldiers and Thai Special Forces, June 27. (Photo by CW2 Adam Ochoa, A Co, 2-25th Combat Aviation Brigade)

During the three exercises, Task Force Diamond Head flew a multitude of missions, including VIP movements/battlefield circulation, medevac training and actual missions, air movements, air assaults, para-drop operations with Special Forces, hoist, bambi bucket and sling load demonstrations and even some training flights.

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