Dispatches From Iraq

Received via Mike Sloniker 9 May 2003

US Army Aviation: Cody On-Point Again

Defence & Public Service Helicopter
6 May 2003

Phoenix - May 6: Lt. Gen Dick Cody, the Army's G-3 seems to be the only official source on the ins and outs of Army aviation these days.

Last week he was giving testimony to Congress on the subject. This week he gave another of the stem-winding speeches he's been giving since the war ended - this time to the AHS audience.

He won't answer the question most probably want to hear, though: what happened to the 11th Aviation regiment Apache Longbows near Karbala on the night of March 23. 'I genuinely don't know, The data is not back.'

But he did have some revelations to offer, concentrating on Apache activities belonging to the 101st Airborne Assault Division (where his son is a pilot).

The division had two A model battalions and one D model battalion in action throughout the war. Cody's summation of Apache performance shows that a total of 866 targets fell to Apache weapons of one kind or another.

Of this 82 were tanks, 174 were artillery pieces, 183 air defense, 142 Infantry Fighting Vehicles (IFVs) and eight were SSMs (surface to surface missiles).

'That's just this one division, remember,' he emphasised.

Cody also heaped praise on the division's Black Hawk fleet which carried out the various troop assaults involved in a wide range of battles.

A couple of regiments had, he said, flown a total of 6,900 hours 'without any accidents at all.'

But the best part, he indicated, was the 'feeling of safety' engendered in the troops when the Black Hawks had Apache escorts.

'Not one of the assault ships was attacked, shot down or damaged when it had an attack helicopter flying with it,' he asserted.

Most of the operations, Cody said, were of a 'deep attack' nature, and most seemed to have taken place into the teeth of strong armed resistance.

He recounted a now semi-famous story of an Apache that returned with an RPG warhead stuck in its tail cone.

'The EOD comes down, pulls it out, the pilot goes to the john and 25 minutes later he was back in the fight with tape over the holes,' the popular Cody told a spellbound audience.

By David S. Harvey, reporting from the AHS Convention, Phoenix AZ