By Sgt. Elizabeth C. Harris, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. —In a display of readiness, 23 UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with the 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, flew alongside the Rocky Mountains Sept. 6, 2019, in Colorado Springs.
The mission began at Butts Airfield at Fort Carson and headed north, where the flight formation flew over the U.S. Air Force Academy before turning back to the Mountain Post.
“Today was an opportunity to test the maintenance readiness of the battalion,” said Lt. Col. S. Brent Templeton, commander, 3rd AHB, 4th Avn. Reg., 4th CAB. “We were looking to fly in a battalion formation while checking our junior maintainers to hold them accountable for what they report to us on paper by executing a max effort flyover.”
Assault aviation battalions are responsible for moving Soldiers and equipment quickly, however, they don’t always get to practice large flyovers. Many of the pilots and crew have never flown in a formation this large. For example, this is only the second time Templeton has been a part of a large flyover of this kind in his 17-year military career.
“An assault battalion does not get the opportunity to fly purely in support of a ground force as often as we would like,” Templeton said. “We replicate the 4th (CAB) with slices of our companies from our battalion, and it only usually equates to 10 aircraft at a time.”
The training was seen by brigade leadership as being important in determining the battalion’s effectiveness and areas that potentially need improvement.
“The only way to truly measure how effective you are and to determine what you need to improve on is to be tested,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Terrence Reyes, senior enlisted leader, 3rd AHB, 4th Avn.
Reg., 4th CAB. “It also builds confidence in the maintainers, crews and supporting personnel in our ability to answer the call when called upon.”
The battalion doesn’t just move personnel, they also conduct air assaults, move parts and equipment around the battlefield.
“It definitely shows what we reflect on paper is actually feasible in practice,” said Warrant Officer Aziz Karim, a UH-60 pilot assigned to Alpha company, 3rd AHB, 4th Avn. Reg., 4th CAB. “That gives us a check and balance, essentially, on what we’re saying, what we can fight with and what we’re actually going to fight with.”