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Fort Campbell’s 101st Combat Aviation Brigade Apache crew chiefs take pride in a job well done

 

Written by  U.S. Army Sgt. Duncan Brennan
101st Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionWings of Destiny

Khowst Province, Afghanistan – The AH-64 Apache helicopter is one of the most feared aircraft in the skies over Afghanistan. The Apache was designed as an anti-armor attack helicopter that was to replace AH-1 Cobra. It first saw service in April 1986 and still supports Soldiers on the ground 27 years later.

The Apache is an amazing machine and extremely capable in a close air support role. The Apache, as amazing as it is, needs Soldiers to get it into the air and keep it there covering the ground operations in Afghanistan.

Spc. Marshall Miller, A Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, AH-64 Apache helicopter crew chief, enters communication data into the systems of an AH-64 Apache helicopter during pre-flight checks at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Jan. 16, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Duncan Brennan, 101st CAB public affairs)

Spc. Marshall Miller, A Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, AH-64 Apache helicopter crew chief, enters communication data into the systems of an AH-64 Apache helicopter during pre-flight checks at Forward Operating Base Salerno, Afghanistan, Jan. 16, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Duncan Brennan, 101st CAB public affairs)

The Apache crew chiefs of A Company, 1st Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, are the primary support for launching, recovering and troubleshooting the aircraft. In ACo., 1-101st CAB, there is a sense of pride among the crew chiefs who work on the Apaches every day.

“I like coming into work,” said Spc. James Badgett, one of the company’s crew chiefs and a native of Louisville, KY. “There’s the pride of owning and naming your own aircraft, but also the people that help you.”

Pride is passed down from the squad leaders to the crew chiefs. Leaders use the tradition of telling war stories to develop and motivate the younger crew chiefs.

“We regale them with tales of what our aircraft was named and what it did when we were in their shoes,” said Sgt. Michael Evanson, a squad leader, a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. “The crew chiefs put their name on the window, they get to name their own aircraft, so they feel like they’re more in the fight. They take a lot of pride in being able to troubleshoot pilots on the fly and get them up and to the mission.”

The Apaches provide close air support and overwatch to ground forces. Apache crew chiefs make sure the aircraft are mission ready.

“We fly a lot to support ground troops,” said Badgett. “If my aircraft doesn’t fly, I don’t know what will happen to the guys on the ground. I have to make sure my helicopter is ready to fly.”

At the end of the day, being a crew chief in A, 1-101st CAB, is about taking care of the aircraft as well as each other. Leaders prepare Soldiers to replace them.

“We’re a tightly-knit group,” said Evanson. “I want to train my Soldiers to the point where they can take the next step without my help. I love watching them steal my job.”

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