Soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 130th Aviation Regiment (1-130 AB), 449th Combat Aviation Brigade participated in Emerald Warrior 2021, hosted by the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) recently at Camp Shelby, Missouri.
1-130th AB’s mission was to conduct detailed planning in close coordination with friendly ground units and execution of aerial reconnaissance and attack missions integrated with joint fires in a non-permissive environment.
Emerald Warrior is an annual, joint exercise that provides realistic and relevant training to prepare Special Operations Forces, Conventional Forces, Partner Nations, Interagency and Non-Governmental Organizations for crises and contingencies within different operational environments.
This is the second iteration AFSOC requested 1-130th ARB to support Emerald Warrior. The unit also participated in 2017, prior to their mobilization in support of Operation Resolute Support and Operation Freedoms Sentinel in Afghanistan. However, Emerald Warrior developed significantly this year due to emerging enemy threats. The focus was to expose forces to scenarios they may not encounter in their daily training, to increase readiness and to make operators more dynamic.
According to the Charlie Company Commander Capt. Adam White, daily training consisted of ground elements learning how to integrate attack aviation fires within their scheme of maneuver.
“Joint Terminal Attack Controllers assigned to Special Tactics Squadrons (STS) coordinated integration efforts of a ground special operations unit and assisted our AH-64D attack helicopters in the conduct of Air to Ground (ATG) fire support,” said White. “We worked with this STS during our deployment to Afghanistan, so we had an initial rapport supplemented by a sound understanding of Joint Doctrine outlined in the Multi-service Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for Joint Application of Firepower Army publication.”
The exercise consisted of multiple phases, to include simulated hybrid threats for the 1-130th AB. Aircrews and ground force commanders contended with enemy dismounted forces as well as enemy air defense artillery assets within dense urban terrain. This challenged flight crews in both planning and execution. The exercise culminated with two iterations — day and night —of a full mission profile (FMP) where elements conducted detailed planning on deliberate attacks against enemy elements. Aviators from the 1-130th AB contended with anti-air assets and conducted ATG fires against enemy elements maneuvering upon friendly forces.
Emerald Warrior helped 1-130th AB to identify future training priorities in preparation for their upcoming National Training Center (NTC) rotation at Fort Irwin, California, which provides U.S. military units and personnel with realistic pre-deployment training scenarios in all aspects of armed conflict.
“We conducted numerous iterations of aerial attack operations in environments with simulated enemy air defense artillery in the area, which included tactical tasks at terrain flight altitudes,” said White. “This will directly contribute to efficient attack operation in our NTC rotation.”