News: 36th CAB says farewell, heads to Kuwait
By Spc. Christina Clardy
36th Infantry Division Public Affairs
AUSTIN, Texas - More than 100 members of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, of the Texas Army National Guard, gathered recently at the Austin Army Aviation Support Facility to bid farewell to their families and loved ones as they prepare for deployment to Kuwait in support of multinational operations in the Middle East.
The group's mission will be to provide command and control, as well as AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter support to various locations throughout Kuwait and the region.
“Ten years into a consistent conflict and the soldiers of the great state of Texas are once again going into theater,” said Maj. Gen. James K. “Red” Brown, commander of the 36th Infantry Division. “But this time to not only command active duty forces but to carry the mission to the enemy and to those who would do us harm.”
Demonstrating its capacity for command and control operations, the headquarters detachment will lead several active duty U.S. Army aviation units, as well as other National Guard aviation assets.
“I think the challenge for organizations that are from reserve components, the Army National Guard and Army Reserve, such as we are, is demonstrating to professionals that are in the Army our skill sets that we have, and our professionalism,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Elizabeth Shockley, who will serve as the brigade sergeant major during the deployment. “That is truly the challenge, to change any negative or wary perceptions that they may have about Reserve components. The best way to meet that challenge is to live the Army values, follow the proper regulations and procedures and to demonstrate the competence of our soldiers, especially our noncommissioned officer corps.”
The aviators, many of whom are combat veterans, see this new mission as an opportunity to excel in an unfamiliar environment with a broader scope of responsibility.
“There has been a lot of preparation and training that has gone into all of our sections and responsibilities,” said Shockley. “So I have full confidence that our soldiers will continue to adapt to any challenges that they may face.”
To perform this mission, unit leadership hand-picked their aviation personnel to achieve the greatest standards of success overseas.
“Adapting from the standards tasks that we have here in Texas,” said Shockley, “such as fighting wildfires and responding to natural disasters, is not really any different that deploying to any theater environment, because all of these soldiers are very resilient and very good at adapting their skills to what is needed for the mission.”
The ceremony was the last formal farewell for these skilled soldiers before leaving home for a year. With resources like the Family Readiness Group and the personnel conducting unit operations stateside, families of the forward element will never have to be alone.
“All though our group is headed overseas, don’t be afraid,” said Col. Richard Adams, commander for the brigade. “Our rear detachment will maintain our homeland operations, and continue to serve and protect our families and our fellow Texans here at home.”
The service members will be traveling first to Fort Hood, Texas, to complete in-processing and additional training before heading to Kuwait.
“It is great to be standing here with a group of soldiers who are absolutely America’s best,” said Brown.