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    11th CAB flies past 200 days deployed in Middle East

    11th CAB UH-60 Black Hawk CENTCOM flight

    Photo By Maj. Karl Cain | A UH-60 Black Hawk with 7th General Support Aviation Battalion, 158th Aviation...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Karl Cain 

    Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve   

    CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – 11th Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) crossed the 200-day mark of its deployment in support of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) and Operation Spartan Shield on Independence Day 2022, after more than a year of extensive planning, training and preparation.

    On the morning of Dec. 29, 2021, the Camp Buehring (CBKU) Base Support Battalion hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the multi-year construction of a CAB headquarters. Participants included U.S. Army Col. Matthew Hill, the commander of 11th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade (11th ECAB), Army Reserve Aviation Command, and U.S. Army Col. Alan Gronewold, commander of 40th CAB, or Task Force (TF) Phoenix. While the senior aviators sunk their shovels in freshly overturned sand and posed for pictures, they reflected on the future of Army Aviation operations in Kuwait and beyond.

    11th ECAB conducted in-person transition operations with 40th CAB from December to early January before seasoned TF Phoenix personnel relinquished all duties and responsibilities to 11th ECAB. Following their final transfer of authority on Jan. 6, 2022, two 11th ECAB battalions and the brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company restructured as the 11th CAB. The unit assumed the TF Eagle mission to support Army Aviation requirements for the CJTF-OIR campaign to advise, assist and enable regional partners in the enduring defeat of Da'esh, the Arabic term for the Islamic militant group known as IS or ISIS.

    11th CAB's subordinate units, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, became TF Longhorn, and 90th Aviation Support Battalion assumed operations as TF Rattlers. Military helicopter organizations from Spain (TF Toro), Italy (TF Griffon), and the 1st Cavalry Division's attack helicopter battalion—an active duty unit from Fort Hood, Texas designated as TF Attack with AH-64 Apache aircraft and MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial systems—and various companies from Army organizations shifted to 11th CAB's administration.

    The diverse personal and professional backgrounds of 11th CAB personnel, years of individual and collective training at home stations and strenuous simulations at the Fort Hood Deployment Readiness Center prepared the 11th CAB to set even higher expectations of Reservists' capabilities.

    TF Eagle personnel entered the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) theater during the peak of the global COVID-19 Omicron variant pandemic and instituted a comprehensive strategy to reduce transmissions. 11th CAB arranged complete vaccinations for all, and brigade medical providers upheld vaccine booster efforts led by the 531st Hospital Center. Brigade medical providers coordinated isolation facilities at Base Support Battalion-CBKU for quarantining positive patients while implementing thorough contact tracing procedures.

    11th CAB sustains world-class military air-ground operations for CJTF-OIR throughout their mobilization. By July 4, 2022, the CAB conducted over 5,000 flight hours that enabled 220 medical evacuations, transportation of over 15,000 personnel and over 2,000,000 pounds of cargo. Among constant operations or training, logistics companies in each subordinate task force remain pivotal to sustaining aviation platforms by working 24/7 to meet scheduled maintenance demands, transport parts, manage contracts, and repair aircraft and vehicles throughout CENTCOM's area of operations.

    When not engaged with their duties, Eagle Soldiers pursue productive means to make their time in hostile or remote environments feel a little more like home. Opportunities from operating charity-based coffee shops to organized sports, fitness events and college courses help Eagle troops remain fit and balanced.

    Since the 11th CAB Reservists assumed their CJTF-OIR mission, TF Toro and TF Griffon have swapped commands and deployed fresh aviators. Also, TF Attack returned home after handing over its mission to TF No Mercy, the 101st Airborne Division's attack helicopter battalion from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. However, most of the previously "part-time" 11th ECAB Soldiers from at least 40 different states remain effective in managing over 2,000 Coalition troops across five countries as the largest Army Reserve aviation deployment in history. While many look forward to returning home, 11th CAB service members remain resilient during the last act of their vital mission to uphold stability in the region.



    Date Taken: 07.31.2022
    Date Posted: 08.02.2022 09:39
    Story ID: 426305

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