Staff Sgt. Phillis McMiller
10th Combat Aviation Brigade Journalist
Soldiers of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade returned from a nine-month deployment to Af-ghanistan and officially marked the return by uncasing their colors during a ceremony March 5 on Fort Drum’s Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
The ceremony marked the end of the brigade’s fifth deployment in the war on terrorism.
The fighting force consisted of more than 1,800 Soldiers who supported eight BCTs, special operations forces and Afghan forces throughout the deployment.
“The Soldiers’ professionalism and Warrior Ethos wrote another chapter in the history of this brigade and division,” said Col. David J. Francis, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade commander.
The brigade’s primary charge was to execute air movements of personnel and logistics, medical evacuations, reconnaissance and security missions, command and control, and logistics operations. These operations amassed more than 110,000 hours of flight time and included 650 air-assault operations with conventional, Afghan and special operations forces, and other missions that enabled the Afghans to succeed.
Soldiers of 10th CAB maintained two aviation brigades’ worth of aircraft, to include OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, AH-64 Apache, UH-60 Black Hawk and CH-47 Chinook helicopters, which averaged about 16,000 hours of flight time each month.
“The courage, character, patriotism and tenacity of these men and women … have once again answered their nation’s call to deny our enemies safe haven and enable the citizens of Afghanistan to secure themselves and build a better future,” Francis said.
The10th CAB rear detachment was commanded by Lt. Col. Enrique Ortiz and Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Escalara, senior enlisted adviser. The RDC maintained command and control, ensured that Family issues were handled appropriately, and ensured safety and ongoing support to the command team abroad.
“I am extremely proud of all the hard work and success 10th CAB has experienced, both down range and here at Fort Drum,” Ortiz said. “The success of this deployment and the CAB’s ability to help people of Afghanistan secure their own country is testament to the quality of Soldiers we have here, and it has been an honor to be a part of such a fine force.
“It is also an honor to be part of a division, installation and community that cared so well for our Families and Soldiers here at Fort Drum, which proved crucial to the success of this brigade,” Ortiz added.
The 10th CAB Family Readiness Group leaders and volunteers spent countless hours working to ensure that Family Members remained resilient and physically fit during this deployment. The team executed a Falcon Family Fitness Program, and a virtual walk to Afghanistan and back totaling 37,468 miles.
“No Army system can replicate the love and support our Family Members provided this brigade during this deployment,” Francis said. “The Fort Drum garrison, installation agencies, local and the North Country communities continue to go above and beyond in support of the Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.”
The brigade will continue to reset, reorganize and begin training for the next mission that they are called to carry out.