News: 1st Air Cavalry Brigade takes to the skies over Baghdad
Story by Sgt. Alun Thomas
CAMP TAJI, Iraq — The distinctive yellow and red colors of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Multi-National Division-Baghdad, were raised aloft the headquarters flagpole, June 2, as the brigade officially replaced the Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B, in a transfer of authority ceremony.
Col. Patrick Tierney, brigade commander, CAB, 4th ID, cased the CAB's colors, signifying the end of their year-long deployment, after which Col. Douglas Gabram, from Cleveland, Ohio, 1st ACB commander, 1st Cav. Div., MND-B, uncased the 1st ACB colors and assumed control of the aviation mission over Baghdad.
A host of guests, including Maj. Gen. Daniel Bolger, from Aurora, Ill., commanding general, 1st Cav. Div., MND-B, were present to witness the 1st ACB take the reins in what is the brigades third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Outgoing commander Tierney remarked that this was the second occasion the 1st ACB had replaced the CAB at Camp Taji and that transfer operations had occurred smoothly.
"The transfer should serve as point of inspiration because it exemplified the professionalism and dedication of all these aviation officers," Tierney said. "This is an exceptional team that has been bought together to replace us and the mission is in good hands."
Gabram praised the CAB Soldiers for their successful deployment and said the 1st ACB would continue the excellent work.
"We will lead with high standards, discipline and teamwork to aggressively support our brothers on the ground in employing our full spectrum of aviation capabilities," Gabram said.
The war in Iraq is not over and the environment is still dangerous, warned Gabram, who added there are still threats that exist to the 1st ACB.
"There are evil people who want to kill us while we provide security and protect the local population," Gabram said. "Our ground brothers are at risk and we will be beside them every step of the way."
Gabram said the 1st ACB would be deliberate and offensive in nature, with responsive attack weapons teams, precision air assaults, medical evacuation support and timely movement of Soldiers and supplies, while proudly displaying the 1st. Cav. Div. patch on their aircraft.
Bolger reinforced Gabram's comments and stated how important the 1st ACB is to the overall mission in Iraq, being one of the key aspects of the current campaign.
"Our aviation brigade is our strongest asset and our biggest overmatch against the enemy," Bolger said, following the conclusion of the ceremony. "The enemy we are fighting will never have the attack, assault and surveillance capabilities of our (1st) Air Cavalry Brigade."
The morale of Soldiers on the ground is also raised when they see the colors of the 1st Cav. Div., overhead in the skies, day and night, Bolger said.
"Especially in the daytime when we see that big patch on the nose, it lets us know who's coming," Bolger said. "It's a reminder we are never in this alone."
The other reminder, said Bolger, is the great tradition of the 1st Cav. Div.
"The 1st Cav. was the first airmobile division in the Army, and Army aviation has always been integral to what we do," Bolger said.
"The 1st Air Cavalry Brigade is what strengthens us," he said with confidence.