Army helicopter training returning to West Texas

Residents in several West Texas counties will notice increased numbers of Army helicopters in the air and military vehicles on the roads during the last few days of September and later in October and November while routine training activities are underway in the area. The training being conducted by the 21st Cavalry Brigade from Fort Hood will involve frequent flights in Brown, McCulloch, Coleman, Runnels, San Saba and Mills counties during three periods: from Sept. 28- Oct. 10, from Oct. 19-31 and from Nov. 16- 21. Many of the flights will be along U.S. Highways 67, 377 and 283 and in other remote areas in the six counties in both daytime and nighttime. The 21st Cavalry Brigade is responsible for training all U.S. Army aviation units and those of allied countries that are transitioning to the new AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. The realistic training conducted by the 21st Cavalry Brigade helps units to function as a team and operate over the distances they would have to maneuver in under actual combat conditions. The intense training program for each unit lasts about six months and culminates with a series of exercises in different West Texas areas where land and airspace allow the extended maneuver room. As part of the training, visually modified vehicles designed to replicate an “enemy” force will be traveling throughout the training area and parked on roadsides periodically while the helicopters search for them. No live ammunition is used in the training exercises. Most of the helicopter flight activities during the period will be staged out of the Camp Bowie training area near Brownwood. Military convoys will be encountered along U.S. Highways 190, 183 and 84 between Fort Hood and Brownwood prior to, and immediately following, each of the three training periods. The units involved in the training during September, October and November include the 1st Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, an attack helicopter unit assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., and a squadron from the Republic of Singapore Air Force.

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