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National Guard units partner for joint aviation training

By Sgt. 1st Class Ben Houtkooper and Spc. Samantha Petersen | Task Force Spartan | Feb. 19, 2019

U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY – Aviators with the Minnesota, Texas and Utah National Guards, led by the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment, practice landing and taking off during deck landing qualification training aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Mitscher (DDG 57) in the Arabian Gulf on Feb. 4.

"It's always great to work with our joint partners out here," said the Executive Officer of the Mitscher, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Matt Cox. "As a Navy destroyer, we rely on all services to get the mission done. Anytime we can integrate, anytime we can work together on our [tactics, techniques, and procedures], improve those things, it's always a good day for us."

"One of the things that made it very good was an opportunity for us to execute joint operations, working with our Navy partners," said the commander of the Kansas National Guard's 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment "Task Force Javelin," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Todd Loughney. "It was an outstanding opportunity for our crews to get our deck landing qualifications and currencies completed, and also a great opportunity for us to demonstrate interoperability and joint service operations."

Task Force Javelin provides aviation capabilities to U.S. Army Central Command's Task Force Spartan which is a unique, multi-component organization, made up of active Army and National Guard units, rounded out by U.S. Army Reserve support units.

Through Operation Spartan Shield (OSS), Task Force Spartan maintains a U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen our defense relationships and build partner capacity.

Units supporting OSS provide capabilities such as aviation, logistics, force protection, and information management, and facilitate theater security cooperation activities such as key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, symposia and humanitarian assistance/disaster response planning.