Soldiers from 5th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, ‘Eagle Assault,’ and Hellenic Army’s 596th Airmobile Battalion, conducted air movement and air assault training as part of Pegasus 21, Jan.15-20. ‘Pegasus 21’ focused on interoperability with our Greek allies through planning and conduct of U.S. air assault operations. The exercise began with an air assault training mission which included three U.S. UH-60 Black Hawks, two U.S. HH-60 Black Hawks, Greek UH-1 Hueys and Greek AH-64D Apaches. Pegasus explored many different aspects of air support, including medical evacuation operations.
“Familiarization flights are opportunities for the ground force to become comfortable with our standard operating procedures,” said Blevins.
One thing both forces were already familiar with is the impact of COVID-19 around the globe. The U.S. and its European allies have been deliberate in their efforts to create safe environments in order to continue collective training. Task Force Eagle Assault took every precaution that it could to mitigate the COVID-19 risk,” Blevins said. “Throughout our stay here, we have been following a strict mask wearing policy, host nation Greece has supplied us with hand sanitizer for every soldier, and we have maintained social distancing.”
“I would like to express my appreciation to all participants for their outstanding performance, their passion and effort that was shown during the training event,” said Lt. Col. Nicolas Charalampopoulos, battalion commander, Hellenic Army 596th Airmobile Infantry Battalion. “Despite the bad weather conditions and restrictions due to COVID-19, we managed to overcome all problems. At the end of the week, all the training objectives were achieved and both sides gained as much as they could. I’d also like to reiterate the historical ties between the two nations. Through this exercise we managed to show that the alliance is still alive.”
Conducting realistic exercises across Europe is a priority for Atlantic Resolve units. After the scenario, the Hellenic and U.S. crews took part in familiarization flights around the city of Kilkis. According to Capt. Amy Severs, each soldier had to present a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours before departure to Greece. Such measures to execute Pegasus 21 illustrates the United States’ unwavering commitment to its NATO allies and its ability to respond to threats in the Black Sea Region. Greek leadership shared Severs’ sentiments regarding the effectiveness of this week’s mission.