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Utah Apaches return from record-setting California training event

DRAPER — Twelve Utah AH-64 Apaches returned from a record-setting military training event Thursday, June 26, at the Army Air Support Facility in West Jordan.

The event was held at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif., June 7-15. Approximately 22 aircrafts and more than 1,200 service members from multiple states made California history, according to the Utah National Guard.

Operation “Thunder Hammer” involved 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion 211th Aviation with the 40th Infantry Division and 91st Training Division.

“It was a very demanding mission and we were able to integrate quickly,” said Maj. Ricky Smith, commander of the 1-211th ARB. “Our guys performed fabulously.”

Flying in complex and often challenging missions both day and night, Sixteen Apaches and 82 Guardmembers from the 1-211th ARB, the “Air Pirates” of the Utah Army National Guard in West Jordan trained with formation of Apaches, UH-60 Blackhawks and CH-47 Chinooks.

The Air Pirates is the three-time recipient of the prestigious Army Aviation Association of America National Guard Unit of the Year, and have deployed three times since 2001, twice of which were to Afghanistan. On its most recent deployment, the 1-211th ARB was awarded the “Fahnenband des Ministerpräsidenten" personally by Joachim Guack, President of Germany.

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