Arabian Gulf - Guided-missile Destroyer USS BENFOLD (DDG 65) added on to their accomplishments during their deployment to the Arabian Gulf as they conducted joint exercises with Army aviators. Aircraft from the 1-126th Assault Helicopter Battalion conducted multiple landings and takeoffs from BENFOLD’s flight deck and air controllers earned some firsthand live fire gunnery experience with AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopter of the 3-159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion.
The 1-126th conducted over 30 landings and takeoffs on BENFOLD’s flight deck with their UH-60 Blackhawk, giving each of their pilots the experience of landing on a Destroyer. “This is awesome,” said one of the pilots as he stood on the bridge watching the landings. “I’ve never landed on a warship before and this is a great opportunity that many don’t get to experience.”
The 1-126th conducted live fire gunnery exercises. The two formidable attack helicopters employed their 30-millimeter, M230 Chain Guns against an inflatable floating target launched by BENFOLD. “Watching Apaches shooting at targets out here with BENFOLD was exciting and something different,” said Gunners Mate Third Class Nicholas Freiermuth. “I've never seen an Apache helicopter before, and didn't know what to expect. It was AWESOME!” he said.
“Deployment is all about experiences,” said BENFOLD’s Commanding Officer, Commander Dave Oden, “and for these Sailors to have the experience of jointly working with the Army is something BENFOLD takes great pride in and we hope to further strengthen the bonds of cooperation between the Navy and the Army.”
Both the 3-159th and 1-126th Battalions are reserve units currently stationed at Camp Buehring in Kuwait.
BENFOLD is an Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer and serves as one of the Navy’s premier Ballistic Missile Defense ships in the Pacific. BENFOLD is currently deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.