UK & US Joint Operation Flushes Out Insurgents
UK and US aviation and ground forces completed Operation Aero Hunter together in January.
The operation consisted of two phases. The first was a patrol to flush insurgents out of a village; the second was a series of snap vehicle check points along Route 1 in Western Kandahar.
Troops from 2 SCOTS patrolled a village supported by a Huey and a Super Cobra, both from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward). Marines from Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, circled overhead in an RAF Merlin from 1419 Flight Squadron, Joint Aviation Group as 2 SCOTS pushed through the village.
During the first stage Lima Company supported 2 SCOTS by looking out for any suspicious vehicles. During the second stage, they landed and stopped six cars along Route 1 at three separate VCPs.
“Our ability to go anywhere we want and stop anyone we want with a snap VCP is impressive,” said Capt Tom Duff, a Cobra pilot with HMLA-169. “Lima Company went to three separate places, which tells the insurgents we can deploy anywhere, anytime.”
“This is the first time UK and US aviation and ground assets have integrated for a mission,” explained Sgt Dan Allanson RAF, a crewman from 1419 Flight Squadron.
“We have worked with U.S. ground forces before but this was the first with so much planning.which is the most important thing,” said Merlin pilot Flt Lt Patrick Hearne RAF.” If you get that right, everything will run smoothly.”
The Merlin crew met the Marine forces beforehand for planning meetings, which led to the successful completion of an incident-free operation and provided the groundwork for an SOP to use in future joint operations.
Written By: Sgt Deanne Hurla, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing (FWD)