“We fill out after action reviews in the logbook,” said 1st Lt. Clinton Speegle, Apache gunner and attack platoon leader, Company B. “We try to give the best description we can to give the mechanics the ability to fix the aircraft.”
Speegle enjoys flying the Apache and is impressed with its capabilities.
“The Apache is a phenomenal aircraft,” said Speegle. “The things it can do are amazing. It just makes flying easy.”
Speegle completed his day and night firing qualifications and felt that it really did not seem to take long at all.
“It goes by very quick,” he said. “You don’t realize how fast time flies.”
The crews conducted 10 engagements at different targets varying in range from about 500 meters to seven kilometers away.
Targets varied from heated targets to simulate vehicles that can be tracked at night, to vehicle targets on moving tracks and simulated campsite targets.
The Apache crews use their 2.75 inch rockets and 30mm chain guns to engage targets. The Hellfire missiles are not actually fired, but a simulated firing sequence is used due to their destructive power and ability to start fires on the range areas.
Capt. Robert Deissig, Scout Platoon Company A, completed his qualifications and later performed the job of tower officer-in-charge. In this position, Deissig’s mission was to run the range, coordinate communications with range control and his unit, in addition to reading the script to the crews qualifying.
“A script is just a list of what engagements they can expect and how to prepare,” said Deissig. “They changed since we’ve been back from Iraq to develop more real-life situations.”
Each crew is read a scenario preceding a live target to engage. Civilian personnel work in the tower to prepare the targets for engaging and record the number of hits and misses.
The pilots continue to learn more and more about the Apaches as the mobile weapons platforms improve.
“We just picked up the last of these new systems (AH-64 Longbow, Lot 8) in December,” said Chief Warrant Officer Larry Paul, an aviator from Attack Platoon. “They added another screen, making it easier to acquire targets, and there is new software to go with it. It gives pilots 3-D maps and satellite imagery to use in their navigation and target finding.”
These improvements and exercises are the things Rapavi said he sees that will allow his battalion to more effectively fulfill their missions.
“This training allows pilots to engage naturally,” he said, “and enables us to go out and do combined-arms type training.