News: 4-6th ARS rotates Warriors to South Korea
Story by Staff Sgt. Bryan Lewis
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – The main body of the 4-6th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, rounded up its remaining soldiers and took off Sept. 24 for a nine-month rotational deployment to South Korea.
Approximately 380 soldiers will link up with their equipment, to include 30 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters, in support of the defense of the Korean peninsula.
Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, 7th Infantry Division commander, said that 4-6th ARS will operate in support of the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, U.S. 8th Army.
“The task for the 4-6th Redcatchers is clear … deploy a trained and combat-ready force to the Republic of Korea,” said Col. Paul A. Mele, 16th CAB commander. “4-6th will then enhance the ROK and U.S. combined forces by increasing the capability for reconnaissance, security and deterrence.”
The squadron’s return to the Korean peninsula after a five-year absence marks them as the first rotational unit in the Army’s focus to rebalance the Pacific.
“We are the first battalion-level unit in the Army to exercise the rotation of forces concept. We are literally the tip of the spear and for good reason,” said Lt. Col. Brian T. Watkins, 4-6th ARS commander.
Soldiers and their Families gathered for one final time in the early morning of their departure day at the Redcatcher hanger on Gray Army Airfield. The hanger was lined with bags, rolled-up guidons and cavalry Stetsons as Families and friends embraced for the final time.
“The support of our families has always been outstanding through any event or mission that we’re apart of,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley W. Williams, 4-6th ARS command sergeant major. “We couldn’t do what we do without them, and with a strong FRG [Family Readiness Group] program set up, we will continue to have one of the strongest teams in the Army.”
After final embraces from families and final checks from their leaders, soldiers exited their hanger and loaded buses with a mindset of what would lie before them.
“Led by servant leaders and so full of esprit do corps, these professionals will show the way for additional rotational forces,” Mele said. “Their performance will develop trust with our allies and partners, proving that rotational units do indeed equal trained and lethal combat-ready forces.”
The squadron will uncase its colors at Camp Humphreys where it will set the tone for follow-on units.
“Before you today are the best trained soldiers and most cohesive squadron team I have served with in my 18-year career,” Watkins said. “I have complete faith in the ability of our soldiers to take on the challenges we will face during this deployment.”
After their rotation to South Korea, 4-6th ARS will return to Joint Base Lewis-McChord and the 16th CAB, however, its Kiowa helicopters will remain in South Korea for follow-on units.