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PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — An Apache attack helicopter unit is headed to the field for two weeks to put its warfighting skills to the test.

The 4th Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment will undergo a series of mock war scenarios to hone its skills and give its commander a sustained, firsthand look at how the unit fares in the field.

The battalion is part of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, which is headquartered at Camp Humphreys in Pyeongtaek.

Known as an “exeval,” or external evaluation, the event enables the commander “to better assess his soldiers,” said Capt. Brad DeLoach, the brigade’s public affairs officer.

“They get tested on, of course, aerial attack and how well they perform aerial missions,” such as flying security escort for ground convoys, DeLoach said.

Evaluating the unit’s performance will be members of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment, which also is an Apache unit within the brigade.

The unit also will be tested on how its soldiers perform under ground attack and chemical attack, how they manage day-to-day maintenance and other operations in the field, and how they cope with the sudden appearance of civilians on the battlefield, DeLoach said.

In the aerial attack portions of the evaluation, Apache crews will be tasked with hitting ground targets.

“They’re our gunships,” DeLoach said. “They’ll go out and look for direct attack missions, things to engage.”

Apache helicopters are armed with Hellfire missiles, rockets and a 30 mm cannon.

But the evaluation won’t entail helicopter live-fire, DeLoach said, and troops on the ground will fire blank ammunition.

U.S. soldiers and their KATUSA counterparts — South Korean troops assigned to the U.S. Army — will pretend to be local civilians who wander onto the battlefield. Oother soldiers will portray news media who are escorted to the battlefield for interviews with troops.

Soldiers operating as opposing forces will mount ground attacks on battalion troops, and evaluators will weigh in on how the 4th Battalion troops react to attack.


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