News: Task Force Keystone Departs for Kuwait
Story by Sgt. Matthew Jones
More than 1,500 soldiers from several states were officially recognized on April 9 in a farewell ceremony for Task Force Keystone.
The soldiers of the 2/104th General Support Aviation Battalion, 1/150th Assault Battalion and 628th Aviation Support Battalion have been training here since January and will be heading to Kuwait for two more weeks before arriving in Iraq where they are expected to remain for roughly 10 months.
The other two battalions in the task force trained separately. The 1/137th Assault Battalion trained at Fort Sill, but approximately two months ahead of time. They are currently in Kuwait and Iraq. The 1/130th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion began training at Fort Hood, Texas, in March.
The task force will be spread throughout Iraq and Kuwait, but will be based out of Joint Base Balad, roughly 50 miles north of Baghdad.
Task Force Keystone is a brigade-sized aviation task force comprised of almost entirely National Guard units from 10 states and Soldiers from many others. The largest concentration of units is from the 28th Combat Aviation Brigade, headquartered at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pa.
The task force includes more than 2,500 pilots, mechanics and support personnel such as payroll clerks, cooks, doctors, chaplains and all staff positions necessary to operate as a self-sustaining unit.
Task Force Keystone will provide complete aviation operations to coalition forces in Iraq to include peacekeeping operations and the seamless transfer of security responsibilities to Iraqi security forces during the transition to a safe, secure and independent Iraqi government.
This mission requires the operation and maintenance of the CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters. Specific missions may include the transportation of troops, ground vehicles, supplies and dignitaries.
Along with the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the 28th CAB is part of the Pennsylvania National Guard's largest combat deployment since World War II.