Army goes to war with National Guard, seizes Apache attack helicopters

Two AH-64D Apache attack helicopters from 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, taxi back to their parking spots after mission Aug. 15 at Camp Taji, Iraq. The Attack battalion supports ground troops through reconnaissance and aerial weaponry. The Apache crews of 1st ACB have disrupted numerous roadside bomb indirect fire attacks aimed at Iraqi civilians and coalition forces throughout the Baghdad area of operations. (U.S. Army photo by CW4 Daniel McClinton, 1-227th, 1st ACB, 1st Cav. Div. Public Affairs)
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The National Guard is following a direct order — but it’s not happy with it.

All of the Guard’s AH-64 Apache helicopters are scheduled to go to the active Army, and there’s nothing its top brass can do about it.


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“None of us like what we’re having to do,” National Guard Chief Gen. Frank Grass told members of the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the military website Defense One reported. “My big concern right now is figuring out how I’m going to move, and how many states I’m going to have an impact on, and what’s the cost of facilities and to retrain pilots. I’ve got to tackle that because the decision’s been made.”

Air Force Maj. Shannon Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Guard, reiterated the general’s position, the Army Times reported.

“These are very difficult decisions and there will be more difficult ones yet to come,” she said. “His focus now is to determine the impacts and how best to implement the decision.”

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told members of Congress on Tuesday that the move will save $12 billion through fiscal year 2017, Defense One reported.

When the logistics are worked out, the Army’s fleet of OH-58 Kiowa helicopters will be divested, its newly acquired Apaches will fill its reconnaissance and scouting needs, and the National Guard will be given UH-60 Black Hawks.

Advocates of the Army’s decision say that the Black Hawks actually benefit the Guard because they are an incredible asset for disaster relief efforts.

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