Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Stetsons in Greece

By Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet

24th Theater Public Affairs Support Element

LITOCHORO, Greece — Aviation Soldiers with the 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, and the Hellenic army conducted a combined arms live fire exercise (CALFEX) at Litochoro, Greece, Jan. 24, 2019.

An AH-64 Apache helicopter with the 6th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, fires a Hydra 70 rocket during a combined arms live fire exercise at Litochoro, Greece, Jan. 23, 2019. Allied and partner forces train together frequently from strategically positioned bases in Europe that are critical for a timely and coordinated response to any aggression. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Kris Bonet)

U.S. and Hellenic forces exchanged tactics, techniques and procedures to increase overall lethality as a NATO force, enhance the ability to work with outside organizations, and train tactical capabilities with live fire exercises.

“Our mission here is to enable Atlantic Resolve rotational forces to maintain readiness and accomplish assigned missions, deter potential threats and support defense of NATO allies while strengthening multinational interoperability,” said U.S. Army Capt. Mitchell McKearn, the officer in charge and lead planner of the CALFEX.

“This country provides a very unique training opportunity by working with the Hellenic aviation and marines, while being able to train over-water operations, high-altitude mountain training, and weather conditions that are beneficial for flight training.”

This CALFEX is the first in which a U.S. aviation rotational force trained with Greek attack aircraft and ground forces alongside U.S. unmanned aviation systems, medical evacuation, lift and Apache support. In less than 30 days, 4th CAB deployed as a task force to an austere area and established a cohesive unified team.

Task Force Kronos consists of 6th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 4th CAB; the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion; the Hellenic 32nd Marines Brigade; and 1st Army Aviation Brigade, as well as tactical air control party specialists with the U.S. Air Force 2nd Air Support Operations Squadron.

“We believe that these exercises will bring more benefits between the troops of the NATO alliance,” said Hellenic army Maj. George Manolis, commander, 505th Marines Battalion. “They give us the opportunity to learn from troops that have been deployed all around the world and use technologies that are new to us.”

The 4th CAB has been present in Greece since November 2018 and operations are ongoing.

Stetsons in Greece
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