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From the Stars and Stripes archives

Apaches head for 'ideal battlefield'

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul R. Stein, top, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 David M. Conboy perform a pre-flight inspection of their Apache helicopter at Wiesbaden, Germany, in August, 1990.

GUS SCHUETTLER/STARS AND STRIPES

Attack copters should thrive in desert, V Corps pilots say

By GARY POMEROY | Stars and Stripes | Published: August 31, 1990

WIESBADEN AB, West Germany — Chief Warrant Officer 2 Paul Stein stowed some gear in his AH-64 Apache helicopter Thursday as he explained why the chopper is perfectly suited for Operation Desert Shield.

"We have trained in that type of environment, and it's great," Stein said. "There are no trees and no wires. Wires are a helicopter pilot's biggest nightmare."

With no obstacles on the sandy terrain, night vision isn't just enhanced. "It's beautiful," he said.

On Thursday, Stein and other members of the 5th Sq, 6th Cav Regt, 12th Aviation Brigade left Wiesbaden AB for an unidentified port in Italy. There, support troops will load an undisclosed number of the Army's sophisticated attack helicopters on a ship bound for the Persian Gulf region.

The deployment of the V Corps unit is part of the U.S. Army Europe's participation in Operation Desert Shield. Another V Corps Apache unit — the 3rd Bn, 227th Aviation Rcgt, 3rd Armd Div in Hanau — has also begun deployment to the Saudi region.

While the Apaches arc on the two-week journey, Stein and company will be back in West Germany to keep their skills sharp in the Apache simulators at Fliegerhorst Casern in Hanau.

"I wouldn't want them to have to go right out (in a battle) after two weeks off," said Lt. Col. Randal Tieszen, the squadron's commander and an Apache pilot.

The pilots will be airlifted to the gulf when the Apaches arrive at their final destination.

The crews' self-confidence is bolstered by the capabilities of their tank-killing helicopters, one co-pilot said.

"The Apache was developed in the desert," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 David Conboy, Stein's co-pilot. "It's an ideal battlefield for the Apache."

To prepare the pilots for their mission ahead, Lt. Gen. George A. Joulwan, the V Corps commander, delivered a message of support.

"Fifty years ago, V Corps was founded and went to war in Europe to defeat a madman and a corrupt regime," Joulwan said. "Now you carry the colors of the corps and your units to a new potential battleground against another madman and another corrupt regime.

"All those who now serve in the corps under these colors join me in praying your deployment brings peace without bloodshed, or a swift victory if we must fight."

As a column of Apaches lifted off Thursday, Tieszen gave the thumbs-up sign to his crews.

"They may not fully comprehend the (hot) environment from a personal misery standpoint," he said. "But they're chomping at the bit to get down there."
 

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