CARIBBEAN SEA -- U.S. Army Col. Steven Gventer, commander of Joint Task Force-Bravo (JTF-B), Soto Cano Air Base, Honduras, and two aircrews with the 1st Battalion, 228th Aviation Regiment, JTF-B, completed deck-landing qualifications, Aug. 18, aboard the United Kingdom’s Royal Fleet Auxiliary Fleet Wave Knight, a fast fleet tanker, and met with leadership.
Deck-landing qualification missions ensure aircrew members can respond in the event of an overwater emergency, such as a downed aircraft, disaster relief response, aero-medical evacuation or a search and rescue mission over open water.
“We arrived on station yesterday; only a few days after the Haitian earthquake, and we’ve been meaning to get here so we could partner with the 228th Aviation Regiment, to provide them with a lilypad, a safe base for fuel,” said Royal Navy Commander Brian Trim, commander of the Royal Navy Task Group in the Caribbean. “With the uncertainty around fueling and access ashore in Haiti, getting familiarized with the ship’s deck allows us to operate safely together over the coming days, and hopefully make a difference ashore.”
The RFA Wave Knight was designed to replenish a task group at sea and provide a location to land and refuel when flying long distances over water.
“With our allies, we have been able to refuel on a British ship, and fly with additional confidence that we have a safe spot to land in the sea, if required,” said Gventer. “The RFA Wave Knight has been outstanding in supporting us and the people of Haiti.”
At the request of U.S. Southern Command and United States Agency for International Development, service members deployed to support relief efforts for the people of Haiti after the nation was hit by an earthquake, August 14. Coalition and partner nation forces have also responded and are supporting relief operations.
“We’re out here to make a difference in terms of our Caribbean partners,” said Trim. “By leaning in and providing this support, together we’re going to be stronger - we’re going to deliver better operations together.”