Camp McGregor, Texas - Soldiers from the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, Third Infantry Division, arrived July 23 at Fort Bliss, Texas, where they are scheduled to remain to conduct readiness exercise Falcon Focus until early September.
Falcon Focus is a 42-day environmental and mission command training exercise designed to prepare Falcon Soldiers for the 3rd CAB's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. Aircrews are tested in several areas of aviation operations to include High Altitude Mountainous Environment Training and sustainment gunnery in mountainous terrain. The training, near Fort Bliss, TX, is in a simulated environment near to scale of Regional Command-South where 3rd CAB will be deployed.
Task Force Viper, lead by the 1st Battalion, 3rd Aviation Regiment, is the first element to establish themselves in the training area, said 2nd Lt. Trahern Holden, a battalion unit public affairs representative. They were responsible for the set up of the operations center and communications in the days leading up to the beginning of the training cycle.
When training begins, Task Force Viper will concentrate on aerial gunnery and High Altitude Mountain Environmental Training Strategy exercises. The HAMETS is an Army-wide training strategy for aviation brigades created to familiarize pilots with the challenges of fighting in the mountainous regions of Afghanistan.
Other battalions from the 3rd CAB, who will be deploying throughout the course of the 42-day cycle, will also be conducting HAMETS training, as well as training on other ranges, refueling points and medical evacuation.
Colonel Allan Pepin, commander of the 3rd CAB, said that the training will build the confidence of his Soldiers in the environment they will face.
"Our aircrews, maintenance teams and attached Ground Cav. Troop will perform various tasks during Falcon Focus to better prepare our unit for our deployment to Afghanistan later this year. The challenging environment, similar to areas in RC-South, along with key training and mission command tasks builds proficiency, skills and readiness confidence that is key to reducing unique risks associated with operations in Afghanistan, Col. Pepin said.