CAMP RIGAS FEREOS, Kosovo — Members of a Kentucky National Guard aviation unit offered up its time and helicopters recently to help train peacekeeping partners from another nation here.
The 2-147th Aviation Battalion, based out of Frankfort, Ky., provided two UH-60 Blackhawk lift helicopters and one medevac chopper and pilots so the Greek's quick reaction force could complete hot and cold-load training and get a little practice loading and unloading casualties from the aircraft.
"This training is to help both our and their teams become familiar with each other, our communication and equipment and learn to work together," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Dennis Brown, pilot and commander of the mission.
The soldiers of the 2-147th and the Greece contingent are part of KFOR's (Kosovo Forces) Multi-National Task Force-East (MNTF-E), the U.S.-led sector of NATO's peacekeeping force in Kosovo. The Greeks, known as "Task Force Hellas," along with the U.S., Poland, Ukraine and Romania make up the force structure of MNTF-E.
MNTF-E teams often work together on emergency evacuations. The U.S. helicopters provide a means for the Greeks' quick reaction force to respond to any type of emergency, typically on very short notice.
The Greece soldiers learned how to correctly load and unload a UH-60 Blackhawk lift helicopter with personnel, and also how to load a simulated casualty onto a UH-60 Blackhawk medevac helicopter.
This training must not only be done properly, but also in a quick and cautious manner, first, while the helicopter is idle and then on a helicopter just after landing and right before take-off.
"It is crucial that they know how to load a casualty for those times when medevac and quick reaction teams are called out," Brown said.
U.S. and Greek soldiers will continue to train together to become more proficient at their jobs while in Kosovo.
"Multinational partners are the key to our success in Multi-National Task Force-East, as well s for the overall KFOR mission," said Brig. Gen. Al Dohrmann, MNTF-E commander from the North Dakota National Guard. "It's essential that we continue to work together so that we can complete our missions, save lives and accomplish our goal of maintaining a safe and secure environment in Kosovo."