Those Were Apache And Blackhawk Helicopters Flying Over Los Angeles Tuesday. Here's Why
Did you hear the thunder of helicopters this morning in Southern California?
If you were confused to notice military fighting machines overhead on your way to work, while dropping off your kids at school, or while sleeping in (no judgment), you weren't alone.
Holy crap... got woken up by a fleet of helicopters flying over us heading towards downtown LA. What the hell is going on?#LosAngeles— Niilo Tippler (@upsidedowndog) February 26, 2019
There were 22 heavily armored Apache and Blackhawk helicopters in the skies above Los Angeles on Tuesday — part of an Army training flight to San Diego that required a stopover for refueling at John Wayne Airport in Santa Ana.
The squadron visible in the San Gabriel Valley, L.A. and Orange County was part of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade based at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
They were attached to the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Infantry Division (known as the "Arctic Wolves") out of Fort Wainwright, Alaska.
The troops spent the last month on a "readiness rotation" at the military's National Training Center at Fort Irwin, near Barstow.
"They were testing their ability to fight in combat. Just to make sure they are ready if called upon," said Master Sgt. Jason Stadel, an Army spokesman.
It looked like the choppers took the scenic route on the way south. (The flight path was controlled by the FAA, Stadel noted.) Video from KTLA showed some of them passing by the Hollywood sign, giving off major Ride of the Valkyries vibes.
And John Wayne Airport tweeted images from the afternoon refueling stop.
Sharing a few photos from today's @USArmy 25th Combat Aviation Brigade training exercise where 22 Blackhawk and Apache helicopters from Fort Irwin landed at JWA for refueling before heading to San Diego. #USArmy #FlyJWA #FlySNA 🚁 pic.twitter.com/c4dJ8gglPQ— John Wayne Airport (@JohnWayneAir) February 26, 2019
In San Diego, the crews will load onto a ship bound for the island of O'ahu.
"Their training is done. They've been away from their families for 4-5 weeks. So they're coming home," Stadel said.
This story has been updated. Ryan Fonseca contributed to this report.