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    Army Reserve’s ‘Warhawks’ conclude homeland defense mission

    Army Reserve’s ‘Warhawks’ conclude homeland defense mission

    Photo By Staff Sgt. Christopher Sofia | Army Reserve CH-47 Chinooks and Soldiers from the 244th Aviation Brigade stand ready...... read more read more



    Story by Capt. Christina Douglas 

    244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade

    JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. – When disaster strikes, every second counts. Minutes can mean the difference between life and death, and air advantages such as speed and agility are unparalleled in providing rapid response capabilities.

    Enter the Army Reserve “Warhawks,” part of the premier U.S. military forces available to conduct critical lifesaving and life-sustaining operations when called to serve.

    After heeding such a call to duty in 2012, the 244th Aviation Brigade, 11th Aviation Command, concluded its two-year mission as the first Army Reserve-led Defense Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear Response Force Aviation Task Force, Sept. 30.

    The Aviation Task Force, comprised of more than 500 personnel, had a responsibility to deploy within 24 hours anywhere in the U.S. Northern Command area of responsibility to provide mission command of aviation assets in support of the lead federal agency and the Joint Task Force Civil Support commander.

    The mission was no easy feat. To be successful, the Army Reserve aviation unit had to hone its ability to quickly alert, upload and deploy to meet the JTF-CS’s deployment timeline. This meant continuously being postured to deploy mission command capabilities within 12 hours; more than 300 Soldiers and 20 aircraft within 24 hours; and hundreds more Soldiers and aircraft within 48 hours.

    In the end, Task Force Aviation would have an arsenal of CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 and HH 60 Black Hawks, and nearly 600 Soldiers on the ground to meet mission requirements anywhere in the continental United States.

    In true “Warhawk” fashion, the brigade rose to the challenge in several no-notice emergency deployment readiness exercises and validation exercises.

    “The combination of the 244th's heavy-lift, medical-evacuation and utility aircraft were force multipliers for JTF-CS and critical enablers for the other task forces,” said Marine Corps Col. Dave Olszowy, deputy commander, JTF-CS. “It would be no exaggeration to say we could not do the CBRN consequence-management mission without the steadfast support of the 244th over the last two years.”

    According to Col. Joseph Edwards II, 244th Aviation Brigade commander, Army Reserve aviation was the perfect fit for the DCRF mission. Not only is the unit strategically geographically dispersed, it also brought a plethora of capabilities to the table.

    “This single brigade provides a great deal of lift capability across multiple platforms that no other aviation brigade can provide,” said Edwards. “It has a diverse capability ranging from heavy lift with its CH-47 fleet, medium lift with its UH-60 fleet, as well as medical evacuation with its HH-60 aircraft. It can also provide rapid movement of key leaders, personnel and equipment across great distances with its fixed-wing fleet (UC-35 jets and C-12 turboprop aircraft).”

    The 244th is the Army’s largest aviation brigade, consisting of over 2,700 Soldiers and 130 aircraft, spanning from coast to coast in 13 states across 17 locations, to include eight of 10 Federal Emergency Management Agency regions.

    Though the DCRF mission has come to a close for the 244th, the brigade remains focused what’s ahead.

    “We were honored to serve our nation in this capacity and look forward to assuming the mission again in the future,” said Edwards.



    Date Taken: 10.01.2014
    Date Posted: 10.16.2014 14:52
    Story ID: 145252

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