On 15ᵗʰ December, representatives of the EPRC visitied the IT Army Spec Ops Av 3rd RGT REOS “Aldebaran”, located at Viterbo (ITA). The visit was the first occasion to build an official link between these entities.
The visit started at 09.00 in the morning with some welcome remarks of Colonel Andrea Di Stasio, Commander of the 3rd REOS, in the Briefing Room of the Unit. Most of the unit’s staff was present for to attend the briefings. The EPRC representatives were the Commander of the EPRC, Col Domenico Fanelli, his Deputy, LTC Uwe Schleimer, and the ITA Army representative within the EPRC’s Education Branch, Maj Francesco Lasaponara.
The initial briefing was given by LtCol Bolla, BN AV Cdr, who presented the 3rd REOS including history, capabilities and operations abroad. The 3rd RGT is the youngest autonomous unit in the Army Aviation and its main role is to act as a support unit for Special Operations. It has been a BN since 1998 and became a RGT in 2014. The 3rd RGT is also executing an enhanced SERE training module that includes a PR training element. Therefore, this could well be the main field of cooperation between the EPRC and the 3rd REOS with the aim to support this Unit in the development a PR module that is aligned with NATO documentation and therefore minimizing the risk to lose interoperability.
After the presentation of the 3rd REOS, LTC Schleimer delivered the EPRC introduction briefing with a focus on the Air Centric Personnel Recovery Operatives’ Course (APROC) and the Personnel Recovery Controller and Planner Course (PRCPC) in order to provide a general picture of our main activities. The general introduction provided background information to the audience that will help them to understand the way PR is viewed at in the NATO and EU command structures. Some doctrinal discussions and an overview of the PR System as a whole provided some more insights that will help the operators to understand their role in the system better. Thereafter, the focus moved to the practical PR activities we conduct at the EPRC like the PRCPC and the APROC. After some discussions of the APROC in general, next year’s edition sparked great interest as it will be hosted by IT Air Force in Rivolto (UD), an area in a very common operating region for the IT Army Aviation with its “Mangusta” A129 Attack Helicopter Base.
In a comment during the presentation of the 2017 version of the APROC Col Di Stasio mentioned: “…the 3rd REOS is interested in acquiring the PR Capability along with the SPECOPS Environment (NAR – UAR Ops) and moreover, it could be capable of providing many assets to the APROC 2017…”. Also the EPRC views the participation of the 3rd REOS to be beneficial to the wider audience, because the inclusion of these assets would enhance the operator pool in general and add unique knowledge to the Course. Since the IT Army Aviation is currently conducting C-SAR Missions in Iraq, the Lessons Identified there would be extremely useful to the participants and the 3rd REOS would on the other hand be exposed to a realistic training environment that will enhance their combat effectiveness. It seems to be clear that a close cooperation between the EPRC and 3rd REOS could result in a positive effect on the capabilities of the deployed Forces.
After the briefings, the EPRC delegation was honored to be invited as guests to retirement ceremony of a 3rd REOS member which concluded with a wonderful buffet reception.
The visit an effective event to initiate closer relations between the 3rd REOS and the EPRC; we are quite sure that we will get some more ARMY presence at APROC 2017!