Kentucky Aviation Unit in Kosovo Trains With Greek Forces

Greek soldiers board a Kentucky National Guard UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter during hot/cold load training at Camp Rigas Fereos near Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jill A. Fischer, 116th Public Affairs Detachment)

Story by Sgt. Jill Fischer, 116th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP RIGAS FEREOS, Kosovo – Members of a Kentucky National Guard aviation unit offered up its time and helicopters recently to help train peacekeeping partners from another nation here in Kosovo.

The 2-147th Aviation Battalion, based out of Frankfort, Ky., provided two UH-60 Black Hawk lift helicopters and one medevac chopper and pilots this week so the Greek’s quick reaction force could complete hot and cold-load training and get a little practice loading and unloading casualties from the aircraft.

“This training is to help both our and their teams become familiar with each other, our communication and equipment and learn to work together,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dennis Brown, Lawrenceburg, Ky., pilot and commander of the mission.

The Soldiers of the 2-147th and the Greece contingent are part of Kosovo Forces Multi-National Task Force-East, the U.S.-led sector of NATO’s peacekeeping force in Kosovo. The Greeks, known as “Task Force Hellas,” along with the U.S., Poland, Ukraine and Romania make up the force structure of MNTF-E.

MNTF-E teams often work together on emergency evacuations. The U.S. helicopters provide a means for the Greeks’ quick reaction force to respond to any type of emergency, typically on very short notice.

The Greece soldiers learned how to correctly load and unload a UH-60 Black Hawk lift helicopter with personnel, and also how to load a simulated casualty onto a UH-60 Black Hawk medevac helicopter. This training must not only be done properly, but also in a quick and cautious manner, first, while the helicopter is idle and then on a helicopter just after landing and right before take-off.

“It is crucial that they know how to load a casualty for those times when medevac and quick reaction teams are called out,” Brown said.

U.S. and Greek Soldiers will continue to train together to become more proficient at their jobs while in Kosovo.

“Multi-national partners are the key to our success in Multi-National Task Force-East, as well as for the overall KFOR mission,” said Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, MNTF-E commander. “It’s essential that we continue to work together so that we can complete our missions, safe lives and accomplish our goal of maintaining a safe and secure environment in Kosovo.”

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