An Army National Guard Helicopter task force completed the first aviation support rotation of its kind in Europe. The multi-state unit from Colorado, Kansas and Utah brought U.S. and allied special operations forces, in the Special Operations Command Europe area of responsibility, the ability to train from new heights, literally, from July to October 2016.

The task force completed more than 212 missions; including, 207 military free-fall jumps, 112 static line jumps and 315 fast-rope insertions to aid special operations’ ability to train in a more realistic manner.

U.S. Army Capt. Casey Atkins, helicopter task force operations officer from Salinas, Kansas, said the helicopter task force flew more than 337 hours to simulate deployed insertion techniques, including military free-fall, a jump conducted at high altitude allowing SOF units the ability to infiltrate deep into enemy territory, and static line jumps for rapid, mass insertion into a deployed environment.

Not only did the National Guard units hone their skill for deployment readiness, but qualified three crew chiefs as a fast insertion and extraction system masters, said Army Lt. Col. Anthony Somogyi, the task force commander and Colorado ARNG member from Palisade, Colorado.

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