January 29, 2006:
There are lots of helicopters in Iraq that get into trouble, usually with equipment problems, and have to come down right away. This causes problems with getting the birds repaired, as it is often necessary to lift the chopper out using a bigger helicopter, or bring in a crane and flat bed truck, and drive it out. Tired of improvising every time, the aviation brigade of the 101st Airborne Division has formed a Aircraft Support Equipment (ASE) platoon. This outfit is specifically trained to go out to wherever there is a downed helicopter, evaluate it and, if necessary, bring in a flatbed truck and crane, get the chopper on it and get it back to a repair facility. This is the first time the U.S. Army has put together such a platoon.