MARINE CORPS TRAINING AREA BELLOWS, Hawaii – Soldiers and Airmen committed an air assault, here, with the assistance of the latest aerial gunship support June 6.
The lightning raid consisted of infantrymen assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division; AH-64 Apaches from 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regt., 25th Combat Aviation Bde., 25th ID; Tactical Air Control Party (TACP) Airmen assigned with 25th Air Support Operations Squadron (ASOS); and the new AC-130J Spectre from the 18th Flight Test Squadron.
“The training objectives are primarily for the AC-130J and the Apache helicopters,” said 1st Lt Marvin Woods, a platoon leader assigned to Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt. “The ground force is facilitating the scenario in which Air Force Joint Terminal Attack Controllers (JTAC) can utilize aerial assets.”
“The purpose of the training is to validate the AC-130J and Apache abilities to support platoon objectives in an urban environment,” Woods continued. “Working with interservice personnel was a valuable experience. Relationships built during this training will enable future joint operations in training and abroad.”
He further added, the training area allowed enough space for aerial assets to work concurrently and provide robust military operations on urban terrain (MOUT) sites.
According to Air Force Staff Sgt. Adam Davis, assigned to the TACP Airmen, 25th ASOS (based out of Wheeler Army Airfield), the 18th Flight Test Squadron used the joint training opportunity to field test the Spectre gunship platform.
“The 18th Flight Test Squadron already did their first test phase in Hurlburt Field, Florida, and now they’re out here to validate the platform before it begins operations downrange,” Davis said.
He explained the 25th ASOS integrates with its Army partners, welding the Army ground forces to airpower.
“The greatest challenge so far has been all the coordination between six or seven agencies, three services … to get everybody on the same page and pushing the right direction,” he said. “But it’s been a really good challenge. Everybody has responded and really worked together as a team making this an excellent training.”
Sgt. Giovanni Barreto, a native of Los Angeles, California, and an infantryman assigned to Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt., led Soldiers out the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter from the 3rd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID.
“A lot of these guys are brand new Soldiers that we got from basic training, and they executed missions in which top tier level Soldiers have performed in the past,” Barreto said. “They executed almost flawlessly.
“It was good seeing the Apaches and AC-130J,” he added. “It showed we worked together cohesively. Seeing them up there, we knew they were giving us protection on the ground, and helped us push to the objective that much faster.”
Spc. Allan Acosta, a native of Kerman, California, and an infantryman assigned to Co. A, 2-35th Inf. Regt., described the training as an awesome experience, and everything flowed smoothly.
“It was like a perfect scenario kind of deal,” Acosta said. “It was easy to get to, and then it was awesome because our platoon. We’ve been working together for a while. We didn’t skip a beat and there was no hesitation.”