Blackhawks from the 101st Airborne Division's aviation brigade departing a military base to begin Operation Swarmer near the city of Samarra. Image courtesy of Sgt. First Class Antony Joseph, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade.
What impresses me is that this is the first brigade level air assault that I've seen involving Iraqi forces as the main component. Working with the pros of the 101st has to be a real confidence builder. Secondly, the use of air assault implies a very high degree of trust on the part of Americans. Loss of operational security for an air assault means the loss of helos with a very heavy loss of life. Everyone involved understands this from the start, so the Iraqis running their end of the show have to appreciate the level of trust extended. Last, with operational security in place and functioning, an air assault is the best way to stomp on an ant hill, bar none. There were enough troops involved to throw a loose net on the area and take anyone running into custody. Except perhaps the ones foolish enough to shoot. They wouldn't make it to custody.
UPDATE: Bill Roggio now has three posts up on this exercise - plus some excellent remarks in comments.