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    Section Spotlight: Brigade Aviation Element

    The 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountian) Brigade Aviation Element moves the mountain warriors.

    With so many Soldiers in so many places, it becomes a full-time job getting people from one place to another in Afghanistan. For Task Force Wolverine, Lt. Col Kris Kirkland and his crew are up to the task every day.

    Kirkland, the Brigade Aviation Element Officer for the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Mountain), as well as Task Force Wolverine, heads the Brigade’s Aviation Element, or BAE. In a traditional role, the BAE is responsible for scheduling flights in, out, and around the country. Due to a change in mission the 86th IBCT encountered right before they mobilized for deployment to Afghanistan, the role of the 86th IBCT’s BAE is a little different, but no less important than that of a traditional BAE.

    “The unique part of the mission here, since the mission changed from taking over Task Force Phoenix to taking over Task Force Cyclone, is the fact that the task force doesn’t have any direct support in terms of aviation,” said Kirkland. “The traditional mission means support for a brigade combat team, meaning the role of the BAE is airspace support, airspace control, and other more kinetic operations. Since we don’t have the support, CJTF-101 [Combined Joint Task Force – 101] runs those kinds of things.”

    Instead of being involved in the world of aerial combat, the BAE for TF Wolverine‘s predominant mission is logistical in nature. Moving units and equipment is the name of the game, said Kirkland. Through the members of his crew – Capt. Vinnie Fusca, Staff Sgt. Trevor Bessette, Spc. Kevin Grandbois, and Pfc. Mark Truedson, TF Wolverine’s air movement needs are met with care and precision.

    Since Bagram Airfield (TF Wolverine’s headquarters) is a central hub for most of the air traffic in and out of Afghanistan, it is the BAE’s job to coordinate the movement of Soldiers and equipment.

    Though there is some disappointment with the BAE’s mission moving from bullets and bombs to people and pallets, Kirkland and his team have decided to embrace the lighter side of things. Referring to themselves as travel agents, the office of the Aviation Element is adorned with posters of various exotic locales.

    In the end, serving your country is serving your country, and for the 86th IBCT (Mtn.), the BAE is a key component in the war effort.



    Date Taken: 08.11.2010
    Date Posted: 08.11.2010 05:53
    Story ID: 54304
    Location: AF

    Web Views: 389
    Downloads: 4