Long-awaited Apache Longbows arrive in Europe
by Bill Roche
Army News Service
ANTWERP, Belgium (Army News Service, July 24, 2002) - V Corps' long-awaited squadron of 22 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters arrived at the port of Antwerp last week and flew in mass formation July 22 to the unit's home airfield in Illesheim, Germany.
The state-of-the-art attack helicopters, each encased in a protective cocoon of shrink-wrapped plastic, were unloaded from the ship Scan Bothnia by soldiers and contractors of the Military Traffic Management Command's 838th Transportation Terminal Battalion from Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and the 2nd Battalion, 502nd Aviation, a U.S. Army Europe 21st Theater Support Command unit based at Coleman Barracks in Mannheim, Germany.
After unloading, the aircraft were unwrapped and inspected by aviation specialists from the unit to which they'll be assigned - the 6th Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry, part of V Corps' 11th Aviation Regiment, based in Illesheim, Germany. Once accounted for and inspected, mechanics and crew chiefs from Troop D of the 6/6th began reassembly of the Longbows. Following the reassembly process, the helicopters were test-flown before moved to Illesheim.
The arrival of the Apache squadron marks its return from Fort Hood, Texas, where soldiers of the 6/6th spent a year becoming familiar with the helicopters as they were upgraded from AH-64A models. The 6/6th will rejoin its sister squadron, the 2nd Squadron, 6th U.S. Cavalry, in the 11th Aviation.
Part of the Army's Transformation process, officials said, the stationing of the Longbow squadron will vastly improve V Corps' deep-strike aviation capabilities.
(Editor's note: Bill Roche is a member of the V Corps Public Affairs Office.)
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