Military helicopter training exercise in Oxford a ‘success’

Published 10:51 am Tuesday, January 16, 2024

More than 50 military helicopters with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) landed in Oxford Saturday as part of a large-scale training exercise.

The about 55 helicopters were Blackhawks and Apaches, according to Jacob Pind, manager of the Oxford-University Airport.

“We had 44 earlier on Saturday and then five more came later in the day, and then some more came in on Sunday,” Pind said. “We’ll probably see some residual traffic this week as they return from Louisiana headed to Kentucky, but that could change pending the weather.”

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The winter storm that blew into the area Sunday evening shut down the airport Monday.

Pind said the official with the U.S. Army told him the training exercise was the largest the 101st has performed in about 20 years.

The exercise was designed to evaluate and certify the division’s ability to conduct large-scale, long-range air assault operations in conjunction with training scenarios to test the unit’s communication, logistical resupply, and tactical abilities.

The University-Oxford Airport served as a refueling and resupply location during the exercise.

“Everything went great,” Pind said. “There were a lot of spectators, from at the terminal building to the lookout off Molly Barr Road. Kudos to them (101st Airborne Division) and to our team on the successful collaboration to get it all done safely and successfully.”