Exercise Report : IMMEDIATE RESPONSE 2019 1st CAB Deployment – Rivolto, Italy
Exercise IMMEDIATE RESPONSE 2019
1st Combat Aviation Brigade Deployment Rivolto, Italy
Renzo Del Bianco reports on the 1st CAB deployment to Rivolto in 2019, including Maniago range photos contributed by Marcello Cosolo
The 1st CAB (Combat Aviation Brigade) “Demon” is the aerial component of the famous 1st Infantry Division “THE BIG RED ONE”, headquartered in Fort Riley, Kansas, United States. In 2019, the 1st CAB deployed to Europe from January to October as part of the Operation Atlantic Resolve. During these months, the Brigade was engaged in training activities involving several exercises all over the Europe until being replaced by the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, on November 1, 2019.
Exercise Immediate Response is a terrestrial exercise held in Europe. The 1st CAB was one of the main participants in the 2019 edition, which had involved approximately 3,000 U.S. Army personnel from various units and more than 6,000 from allied and partner nations. The multinational exercise Immediate Response 19 (IR19) was co-led by Croatian Armed Forces, Slovenian Armed Forces and U.S. Army Europe at various locations in the hosting nations of Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. IR19 was designed to test the ability to move forces and equipment rapidly to Forward Operating Bases during operational crisis scenarios, with the purpose of improving readiness and interoperability among the participating forces. Highlights in IR19 included airborne jumps, air assaults, a medical exercise, live fire exercise, as well as the establishment and integration of a multinational battalion with forces from 15 allied and partner nations.
From May 3 until 17 the personnel and equipment assigned to 1st Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) deployed to Rivolto, the Italian Air Force base situated in the northeastern region of the Italy, home of the Italian Air Force 2° Stormo, in preparation for its participation in IR19. The task of the 1st CAB in IR19 was to provide aerial support for the 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team – Airborne (IBCT-A), based in Vicenza, and elements of the Italian Army “Folgore” Airborne Brigade.
Vehicles and helicopters arrived at Rivolto from various locations in Germany, Lithuania, and Romania. Until May 13, daily sorties were also flown by 1st CAB’s helicopters to the Maniago range, situated between Rivolto and Aviano AB. Every morning and afternoon different pairs of HH-60s and CH-47s took off from Rivolto and flew to the range area, where parachutists from 173rd Airborne Brigade carried out medium-height training drops from the helicopters. From May 14 onwards the vehicles and helicopters progressively moved to Cerklie (Krsko), Slovenia, to support deployment of ground troops belonging to 173rd Brigade IBCT-A and the Folgore Arborne Brigade, which were both airdropped respectively by C-130s belonging to three different Air National Guard units departing from Aviano AB and by C-130s belonging to 46^ Brigata Aerea departing from Pisa.
During the media day in Rivolto, which took place on May 10, there was the opportunity to have a close look at the whole helicopter detachment deployed; five CH-47F Chinooks and twelve UH-60 Black Hawks. Unfortunately, there were not any AH-64E Apaches at Rivolto, because those had been forward deployed at different locations in Slovenia and Croatia. We were able to witness some departures of CH-47s and UH-60s to the training range, as well as activities of the crews to prepare the Black Hawks for the sorties.
This kind of deployment represented an important training opportunity also for 2° Stormo in providing what is expected per Host Nation Support directives, i.e. civil and military assistance rendered to NATO and Allied forces which can be located on or be in transit through the Host Nation’s territory. The 2° Stormo operates the SPADA missile system for air defense of specific sites like airports or other high value locations. The unit also is responsible for the complete service and maintenance of the air base’s infrastructure and systems, supporting the Rivolto based 313° Gruppo Addestramento Acrobatico “Frecce Tricolori” aerobatic display team, and everything else necessary for handling aircraft in transit or hosting deployments of other units, as with the 1st CAB’s deployment.
Last Modified: 22 November 2020