On Wednesday 5th April the skies around Lydd (London Ashford) Airport in Kent reverberated to the sound of some unusual visitors when a flight of six US Army Boeing CH-47F Chinooks passed through. Chris Wood was in the area and popped along for GAR.
The Chinooks were from Bravo Company of the ‘Iron Knights‘ 2nd Battalion of the 501st Aviation Regiment (2-501 AVN), part of the ‘Iron Eagles’ Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) of the ‘Old Ironsides’ 1st Armored Division (1AD). Normally based at Biggs Army Airfield at Ft Bliss in El Paso, Texas, they were part of the aviation rotation of Atlantic Resolve, the deployment of ready, combat-credible US forces to Europe. They had deployed in August 2022 by sea via the port of Esbjerg in Denmark. This rotation saw approximately 2,300 personnel, 10 CH-47F Chinooks, 25 AH-64 Apaches, 30 UH-60 Blackhawks and 15 HH-60 Blackhawks of 1AD CAB deployed to Europe.
The aircraft were believed to be on their way to Ireland to support a visit by President Joe Biden to Belfast and Dublin the following week. An ADSB trace showed ‘EASY30’ flight departing Illesheim in Germany and routing through Belgium on their way to Lydd. The aircraft all carried internal tanks to increase their range.
After refuelling they departed in formation and routed along the south coast, with many reported sightings, and even making some local news reports. They then headed inland, passing west of Yeovil before touching down at Cardiff, where they nightstopped.
For more information on 1AD’s CAB see: