Monday, August 15, 2016

Operation Atlantic Resolve

For well over a month now I have been seeing an increase in US Army aviation activity in central and eastern Europe. This morning I identified one of the units as the 3-501 AVN (Assault) based out of Fort Bliss/Biggs AAF flying the UH-60M. Turns out they are forward deployed to Europe conducting what DoD calls Operation Atlantic Resolve.

From the El Paso Times an article dated May 8 by David Burge:

FORT BLISS – Soldiers from Fort Bliss’ air-assault helicopter battalion have been busy training since December for their next mission – to deploy to Europe and show support for U.S. allies on that continent.

About 400 aviation soldiers, mostly from 3rd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, will deploy to central and eastern Europe in mid-summer to support Operation Atlantic Resolve, said Lt. Col. Jason Arriaga, the battalion’s commander and commander of the aviation task force that will be deploying.
Joining the 3-501st will be some soldiers from sister unit, 2nd Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment, Arriaga said. Both units are part of the 1st Armored Division Combat Aviation Brigade.
The task force will be gone for nine months.

Operation Atlantic Resolve is an ongoing show of commitment and resolve by the United States toward its NATO and other European allies.

While over there, the aviation task force . . . will do some of its own training, will train with various European nations and will support ongoing training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center in Germany, Arriaga said.

The Apocalypse Battalion, as 3-501st is nicknamed, will bring its M model Black Hawks, the latest version of the helicopter. Sister unit 2-501st will be bringing the latest version of specially equipped Black Hawks that are used for medical evacuations.

These soldiers joined together to participate in both Bulldog Focus and Iron Focus with 3rd Brigade Combat Team earlier this year at Fort Bliss.

They also went with 3rd Brigade, also part of the 1st Armored Division, for its April rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif. The 3rd Brigade is preparing for its own deployment to Kuwait later this spring or summer.

Apocalypse has supported and participated in numerous training exercises here at Fort Bliss, including past Iron Focus events and the Network Integration Evaluation, which is held twice a year.
The battalion has also gone to NTC twice in the past year and a half. In addition to its recent trip to the Mojave Desert, Apocalypse went in September 2014 to support what was then Fort Bliss’ 4th Brigade before it reflagged to 3rd Brigade.

Elements of 3-501st also went to the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., in January to take part in 1st Brigade’s rotation there.

It will be just the third aviation unit to go over to support Operation Atlantic Resolve since that mission began in the spring of 2014, Arriaga said.

Factor in this deployment along with the buildup of US assets in the Baltic States and the massive buildup by the Russians all along their border with Eastern Europe and we have to watch very carefully a potentially serious situation in Europe.

More as we get it and be sure to follow our twitter feed @MilcomMP for current breaking events and news from our Milcom Monitoring Post.