Talon Strike and Griffin Strike Exercises

These names were used for national military exercises of the American 5th Army Corps, headquartered in Heidelberg, Germany, held in the Hradiste Military Training Area in the Czech Republic in March and April 2002.

The American “manoeuvres” have been a continuation of national exercises of NATO armed forces held in the Czech Republic. Since 2000, Belgian, Dutch and French soldiers and airmen had their exercises in this country.

In March, during the Talon Strike exercise of the 2nd Flight, 6th Division based in Illesheim, an Open Day was organised, during which Czech military experts, including Minister of Defence Jaroslav Tvrdik, journalists, mayors of villages bordering the training grounds and representatives of the Karlovy Vary Regional Office had a chance to observe live cannon and missile fires from AH-64 Apache attack helicopters. The American Ambassador to the Czech Republic, Craig Stapleton, joined the meetings with the soldiers participating in the exercise.

Fears of fog vanished with the ninth hour, as the fog was a notorious indicator in forecasting weather conditions for the area of the Doupovske hory mountain range. While adverse weather causes no problems for attack helocopter pilots, a good visibility was important for invited guests. For many visitors the targeted fires under relatively good visibility was an unforgettable experience.

A great attention was payed also to static displays of the Apache and the Black Hawk-Medical helicopters that were presented by experienced pilots. They served in the Desert Shield and Desert Storm operations in the Persian Gulf (1990 and 1991), on the Joint Endeavour and Joint Guardian multinational peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina (1996 to 1998), and in the Allied Force operation in Albania (1999).

At the press conference, the Commander of the 5th Army Corps, Lieutenant General William S. Wallace, greatly praises the chance of training the troops in such a perfect military area as Hradiste is, and adds that some scenario scenes were aimed at training the crews for fighting international terrorism. In this connection, Czech Defence Minister Jaroslav Tvrdik says that making our military areas available for training of allied troops is one of Czech contributions to the NATO.

During the Griffin Strike two-week exercise on the Czech territory, almost 300 airmen of the 12th Air Brigade, 5th Army Corps, had a chance to foster their skills.

The execution of both exercises were approved by the Government of the Czech Republic following an agreement made between the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic and the Headquarters of the United States Army in Europe.

Compiled from an article written by Jaroslav Rousar in the Czech Armed Forces Today, 2/2002, (AVIS)

Posted: October 21, 2005