PACIFIC OCEAN -- Helicopter pilots of the U.S. Army's 25th Combat Aviation Brigade (25th CAB) participated in training operations with the Pearl Harbor based guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG 70).
Army pilots landed OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Armed Reconnaissance Helicopters as well as UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters aboard Lake Erie while a mixed flight deck crew of Sailors and Soldiers performed standard flight deck operations.
"Our initiative enhances capabilities, makes use of limited resources and sharpens our skills," said Rear Adm. Rick Williams, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. "We are stronger when we work together toward war fighting readiness and operating forward. Here in Hawaii we offer the best possible training environment, both at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Oahu and with Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai. This is a combined arms approach that is a win-win for everyone."
The 25th CAB is expected to participate similarly during Koa Kai exercises in 2014.
"Everybody knows how to fly an aircraft, but not everybody can land them on a ship," said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott Bean, 25th CAB Squadron Standardization pilot. "You want make a pilot a better pilot by giving them a wider range of abilities. If a guy can learn to land on a ship, it makes him a more important part of that team."
Both 25th CAB air crews and MIDPAC flight deck crews have training qualification requirements that can be met by these joint operations.
"It's been excellent working together," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nick Reynolds, 25th CAB, OH-58D Kiowa Warrior Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Instructor Pilot. "This time around we're getting to stay the night on the ship, see what Navy life is all about. It will be a good experience for us to see what the Navy is doing and then to be able to continue our relationship and working together."
The Navy, Marine Corps and Army first established a cooperative, expeditionary combined arms approach in the Pacific in the 1940's.
Navy ships have provided platforms and support to Army helicopters in the Middle East as recently as the summer of 2013 in exercises in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
This cooperative effort helps each branch of service to be ready for a variety of missions, including calls for humanitarian assistance and disaster response.