US CENTCOM press release
“While Apaches have landed aboard naval vessels before, I think this iteration of us coming out here and performing maritime operations with this ESB is more about projecting combat power forward,” said CW3 Reginald Oliver, an AH-64E Maintenance Test Pilot with 1-17 Cavalry Regiment.
By completing the deck-landing qualifications, the pilots and the crew aboard the USS Lewis B. Puller demonstrated not only interoperability between the two services but also showcased an additional capability utilizing U.S. Army aviation assets and U.S. Navy expeditionary sea base ships.
“(We were able to) expand interoperability between the Army and the Navy within this area of responsibility and providing a greater capability if necessary,” said Oliver. “Especially if we are going to deploy an immediate reaction force or a multifunctional aviation task force.”
The USS Lewis B. Puller provides a unique capability to Task Force 51/5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (TF 51/5th MEB) and other forces they support in the CENTCOM area of responsibility. In addition to conducting aviation operations, the USS Lewis B. Puller executes an array of capabilities including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance support, support to special operations forces, and support to embarked Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF) and Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team Company, Central Command (FASTCENT).