Flying Americans Support Rapid Portugese
Capt Victor Gomes
First published July 21, 2003
The Portuguese Battalion (POBn) as part of COMSFOR's Rapid
Reaction Force (RRF) had established a priority-training phase
in order to prepare its units to be able to deploy, fight
and win. In accordance with that concept the battalion had
requested training with helicopters from the United States
Task Force Warrior (TFW), the famous Blackhawk (UH-60).
The airborne training was done between 25th -26th Jun. On
the first day TFW with two UH-60 conducted air movement of
the POBn within the Portuguese area of responsibility (AOR).
The aim of the first day was to simple improve the integration
between the POBn and TFW in preparation for future operations.
Lieutenant Jordon from TFW conducted a 15 minutes capability
brief at Camp Dannevirke on their respective aircraft. After
the brief the two Portuguese's Companies practised their battle
drills with the helicopters, rehearsing the loading and unloading
drills as well as organising into combat formations on the
On the 26th, the operation commenced with the insertion of
two of C-Company's squads at Bosanski-Brod. The key objective
for this first phase was purely the safe loading/unloading
of these two squads. After that the two helicopters with a
small team from the POBn conducted a reconnaissance over the
new AOR of the POBn. They could see from above down the Sava
River (the border between Croatia and Bosnia), Vukosavlevo
(mountainous region), Odzak and Modrica.
Finally two squads from D-Coy were deployed along the Bosna
and Spreca rivers until Ozren. This terrain-flight was flown
at low altitude conforming generally to the contours of the
terrain, varying altitudes and airspeed. After "Kicking
off" the two squads and the reconnaissance team, the
two Blackhawk and the crews recovered to Eagle Base.
Thanks to the TFW availability, the battalion staff increased
performance on the planning of Airborne Operations and at
the same time conducted an air reconnaissance over the new
AOR that POBn will take over on 21JUL03. Thanks to this kind
of Operation, the POBn could achieve speed, precision and
confidence in airborne operation. The successful operation
was a sequence of actions carefully planned, trained and precisely
executed by the two forces. It is proof that US aviation and
the Portuguese unit can be fully integrated to form a powerful
and flexible task force that can be projected throughout the
entire Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Nations of SFOR: US,