FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) - The Afghanistan conflict, marking its 10th anniversary, is in many ways a helicopter war.
Army aviators fly attack missions, ferry troops and supplies and evacuate the wounded. They are in ever-increasing demand even as America eyes the exits in Afghanistan.
The pilots are flying roughly 63 hours a month - nearly five times the peacetime average.
The stretched force faces long and repeated tours to Iraq and Afghanistan. Army officials say flight crews had flown more than 1.2 million hours in Afghanistan as of mid-August, and triple that number in Iraq.
The Army increased the number of aviation brigades, and now has 12 active duty and eight National Guard units. A 13th active duty brigade will be ready next year.
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