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Operation Steel Eagle air assault training at Fort Carson

Posted at 3:13 PM, Apr 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-02 10:42:33-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Some 20 miles south of the buildings and parade fields of Fort Carson there is rugged open space where soldiers typically train away from public view. On this day they allowed journalists to suit-up in body army and helmets for a look at a sophisticated air assault exercise.

“We’re always all in, said Captain Brian McGill with 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

The enemy is simulated for training, but the rest of the training is as true to combat as possible. For example, Captain McGill’s camouflaged face is not necessary to avoid a simulated enemy, yet the tactic is still included. “Face paint?—if we don’t do the little things right we’re not going to be able to do the big things right.”

Nearly a dozen helicopters in formation rapidly land in the exercise zone. Soldiers from the Stryker unit quickly get out and hit the ground looking for any possible enemy confrontation. The choppers leave just minutes after landing. Now considered inside enemy territory the soldiers are on both offense and defense. They strategically move to a ridge line to scout a site where artillery teams will take aim on enemy vehicles. There is live artillery fire flying overhead, then exploding when hitting targets in clear site of the unit on the ground.

The exercise is called Operation Steele Eagle. “Just anytime you’re able to get out, do good hard training, that’s always a major benefit,” said 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Lieutenant Colonel Philip Hensel. It is multiple days living and training in the field.

This day is air assault training. “There are a lot of nuances of how to really effectively do an air assault,” said Hensel. The mission goal is getting soldiers inserted quickly into enemy territory.

The maneuvers have to be supported by other Fort Carson units flying helicopters and firing artillery. “In order to build readiness for our brigade, also build a cohesive team,” said Hensel. Coordination between units needs to be second nature in combat.

"It could apply anywhere,” said Hensel. The practice in Southern Colorado prepares soldiers to fight wherever they are needed.