Texas aviators take on new mission in Afghanistan

36th Combat Aviation Brigade (36th ID, TXARNG)
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Griego

Date: 01.03.2013
Posted: 01.04.2013 16:04
News ID: 99939
Texas aviators take on new mission in Afghanistan

HOUSTON - On Jan. 3, 2013, the men and women of B Company, 1-149th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, bade farewell to their friends and families with a mobilization ceremony in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The event, held at the Ellington Air Base Armed Forces Reserve Center in Houston, Texas, marked the final homestation gathering before going overseas.

“The company embraces the challenges and responsibilities of its deployment to Afghanistan for OEF 13,” said Capt. Todd Casterline, the event master of ceremony. “Our soldiers are ready to execute their mission with intensity, pride and honor.”

B Company will be responsible for reconnaissance and security duties within their area of operations, utilizing AH-64D Longbow helicopters in concert with their new ground training.

“For this mission, none of my soldiers were trained in the aircraft, so we had to retrain everybody, we had to progress everyone,” said Capt. Stacy Rostorfer, commander for B Company, 1-149th ARB. “We had to get the aircraft we’re flying, we had to get the equipment we’re using and we’re being separated as a separate company attached to an active duty task force so it’s new all round.”

To ensure success for its new mission, the company trained for two and a half years, rehearsing combat drills and adopting new objectives into their training standards. The result is an efficient and capable team of soldiers confident in their imminent overseas duty.

“I know they’re good leaders in the aircraft,” said Lt. Col. Derrek Hryhorchuk, commander for 1-149th ARB, “but I tell you what, they’re good leaders as a fire team leader on any infantry squad I’ve ever seen.”

The company enjoys a rich heritage of service and achievement, having previously deployed to Bosnia in 2003 and Iraq in 2006. With each tour, they continuously garnered praise and accolades from their supported units.

“They worked with entities such as Army brigade combat teams, Marine expeditionary forces and Navy Seal teams needing aid in areas such as Ar Ramadi, Balad and Baghdad,” said Casterline.

With any deployment, families and support systems are instrumental in ensuring a Soldier's success. Throughout the day, unit members praised and thanked their loved ones for stepping up at home when military service takes them away.

“The big message is just to talk to the families, thank them for their support and ensure them that their soldiers are in good hands,” said Rostorfer.

As B Company departs for its combat tour in Afghanistan, it takes with it the confidence and support of friends, family and military leadership. With this deployment, the “Wolf Pack” outfit continues its long record of distinguished service.

“We’re gonna be here for you while you’re gone,” said Col. Richard Adams, commander of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade, the parent outfit for the 1-149th ARB. “Let us know what you need, when you need it, we’ll be there to take care of you.”