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Press Release
July 18, 2001
National Guard to conduct (CH-47) Chinook helicopter exercise
Public/Media advisory
Salem, Ore.—The Oregon Army National Guard will conduct a major aviation exercise from 19 through 22 July, 2001. Operation "Battle Axe", will test the ability of the 41st Separate Infantry Brigade, of the Oregon Army National Guard to transport both personnel and equipment by helicopter. Beginning on the morning of July 19, 2001, CH-47 "Chinook" helicopters will transport soldiers of the 1st Battalion, 162nd Infantry from Camp Rilea and an adjacent training area to the McMinnville airport. Routes are designed to avoid inhabited areas, crossing the coastal range through Clatsop, Tillamook, Yamhill, and Washington counties. Most of the flights will occur during daylight hours at approximately 2000 feet above ground level.
On 21 July, 2001, these same helicopters will transport soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 162nd Infantry from the Coos Bay airport to Camp Rilea on the north Oregon coast. On 22 July they will transport a second group of these soldiers from Corvallis airport. These flights will include "slingload operations" with vehicles suspended beneath the helicopters. Again, the air routes are designed to travel over the least inhabited areas. There will be two designated flight corridors. One will travel from Coos Bay to Camp Rilea over the Pacific Ocean. The second will travel up the coastal range on a line running from Coos Bay crossing the Umpqua River about five miles west of Scottsburg, to Mapleton, Eddyville, then five miles West of Grande Ronde, Elsie and then on to Camp Rilea in Warrenton. The Corvallis flight will fly over an area west of Philomath and link up with the above route west of Black Rock in western Polk County.
The Ch-47 exercise is a joint effort of Oregon National Guard aviation and infantry units; A Company 5-159th Aviation Battalion (Washington Army Reserve), and the 5-519th Aviation Battalion Headquarters (Virgina Army Reserve). Joint exercises are becoming increasingly common as the National Guard and Reserve leverage decreasing resources.
The actual infantry training of these units will take place at Camp Rilea and in the Willamette Training area adjacent to the training site. The use of the training area is a generous donation by Willamette Industries allowing the National Guard to conduct exercises larger than Camp Rilea can support. These exercises involve aggressive combat infantry training in a rugged and realistic setting.
For more information contact:
Maj. Jeff Julum
(503) 584-3917