Hello, My name is Spc Tyler Remieres and I serve in the United States Army. I am an AH-64D Longbow Apache Attack Helicopter Crew Chief assigned to Bravo Company Paleriders out of 2-159th ARB Battalion under the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade. As an aviation unit, in Garrison, our sole purpose is to train like we fight. Given the missions conducted over in afghanistan we have to ensure our Aircraft are in top notch condition. We go through a series of Gunnery’s in which, the pilots take the apache out and shoot a series of targets both still and moving vehicles as well as personnel. It is just like firing your weapon at a range, but instead, these guys use helicopters! In a Gunnery it is our job to keep the helicopters up to prevent, armament failures, weapons jams, mechanical failures and anything else that would prevent a bird from flying.
Another type of field problem we do is a Combat-Like exercise. Us soldiers will conduct our everyday business but while doing so, we where vest similar to those in laser tag. The idea is, when attacked, the pilots will be graded on how fast they can move in on a target, destroy it, and prevent any possible injuries or deaths amongst us. That is very important in a combat operation. Also, in this same experience, the pilots will go land somewhere and have pretend to have a false failure in which we are tested in how fast we can get out there, recover and fix the problem. It is a very realistic experience for all of us.
The final training mission we do is the High Altitude training. We go up into the alps and stay on a german airborne base. From here, the apache’s will fly out and go fly in the mountains. The reason for this, is to familiarize the pilots in high altitude conditions. Afghanistan is in a very high altitude and it helps prepare us for it. Again, we train like we fight.
Doing these missions and training events prepares all units tremendously for being deployed. We arrived there this past year and it seemed like nothing new because we trained for all of it….other then super hot weather! We deployed as a stand alone company, seperated from the rest of the batallion, for 10 months and successfully complete out mission with no issues because we trained like we fought and we brought the fight to the enemy.
The main role of a job as a crew chief is the inspections. We inspect everything !!! It is our job to ensure the safety of the aircraft so the pilots can jump in, strap in, go out, conduct there mission and come back home at the end of the day. We do it all, from transmission and engine services to fuel samples, oil samples and recurring scheduled inspections. These aircraft have to be absolutely perfect no less. If a helicopter malfunctions in the sky there is only one place it can go, down hill. We try to keep that in the back of our minds. Every persons job plays an important role. We have to write up everything we do to that aircraft in a logbook and then have an inspector come look at it and write it off. Until he puts his name on it, it is no good. Imagine removing your oil filter, writing it all down step by step, then having to annotate how you put it back together step by step and having someone come by and look over your work. It is that crucial! At the end of the day, we are happy with our jobs, although it has it’s annoying points !
You can see more photos sent by Tyler in the photos gallery!