COALITION PRESS INFORMATION CENTER
APO AE 09356
News Desk: 070-223-758
Press Center: 070-276-545
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 17, 2006
Release # 060417-F-002
Task Force Falcon Public Affairs
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – Task Force Falcon aircrews took to the sky April 11 at the start of an Afghan and Coalition offensive aimed at defeating insurgents in eastern Afghanistan.
Operation Mountain Lion is concentrated in Kunar, Nuristan and Nangahar provinces – known as hotspots of insurgent activity. It involves about 2,500 Afghan National Army and Coalition forces.
Aviation assets are playing a critical role in the operation, said Army Col. Michael Rose, who commands the Coalition’s Task Force Falcon, composed primarily of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Drum, N.Y. The operation began with air assaults; since then, the Falcons have continued to fly supplies into the region.
“Without aviation support, the ground troops are limited to roads and valley floors, which are very narrow and give the enemy an opportunity to ambush or place improvised explosive devices along the routes ahead of Coalition forces,” said Rose, of Honesdale, Pa. “However, aviation assets allow us freedom to maneuver, to bypass known enemy areas, and put troops where they have the advantage over the enemy.”
On the first day of the operation, Afghan and Coalition forces killed six insurgents.
Army Capt. Ben Parry, an assistant operations officer with the task force, credited the element of surprise as a major factor in the operation’s success.
During a night maneuver, CH-47 Chinooks and UH-60 Black Hawks, escorted by AH-64 Apache attack helicopters, carried hundreds of U.S. Soldiers and Marines, along with Afghan National Army commandos, to four difficult landing zones.
“The first night of operations was without incident, and there were no aircraft fired upon,” said Parry, of York, Pa. “We assaulted under the concealment of darkness; we got everybody in successfully,” he said.
- 060411-A-6206S-045: BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- CH-47 Chinook helicopters wait on the flight line here April 11 before the start of Operation Mountain Lion, a combined Afghan and Coalition offensive aimed at defeating insurgents in eastern Afghanistan. The Chinooks are assigned to the Coalition’s Task Force Falcon, composed primarily of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade from Fort Drum, N.Y. (Photo by Army Master Sgt. Doug Sample, Task Force Falcon Public Affairs)
- 060411-A-6206S-114: BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Soldiers in Task Force Falcon’s tactical operations center monitor events as Operation Mountain Lion continues. The operation, which aims to defeat insurgents in eastern Afghanistan, began with air assaults. (Photo by Army Master Sgt. Doug Sample, Task Force Falcon Public Affairs)