Brigade honored by Family and community members in a March 2 deployment ceremony
Combat Aviation Brigade Commander Col. Frank Muth and said Brig. Gen. David Petersen, 1st Inf. Div. deputy commanding general-rear, salute the flag during the CAB deployment ceremony at Marshall Army Air Field March 2. (U.S. Army photo by Jordan Chapman, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs)
Story by: Staff Writer Jordan Chapman
1st ID Public Affairs/Duty First! Magazine
The last time Soldiers of the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade (CAB) flew over the sands of Iraq they logged more than a quarter million flight hours and by doing so saw a 70 percent decrease in violence throughout a 15-month deployment, but that wasn't enough. The 'Demon' Brigade is heading back refreshed, retrained and ready for victory.
"We're deploying the best Combat Aviation Brigade in the United States military and quite honestly, we don't take the best lightly," said Brig. Gen. David Petersen, 1st Infantry Division deputy commanding general -rear, to a hanger full of Family members, fellow Soldiers and surrounding community leaders during the brigade's deployment ceremony March 2.
Peterson felt confident that he could rely on the Soldiers before him to complete their missions and to assist in ushering out Operation Iraqi Freedom and be present to insure Operation New Dawn begins and is moving forward come Sept. 1. At that time, OND will replace the previous OIF campaign.
"Always remember you are the best trained, best equipped and the best Soldiers on the face of the earth … what you're doing is taking care of your Families and giving a nation hope," Peterson said.
CAB commander Col. Frank Muth could agree with Peterson's comments and said that though deployments aren't always easy, duty calls, confident that the passion he sees in his Soldiers every day will lead them to success and a safe return home.
"Standing before you are Soldiers who are committed and who will make a difference in Iraq," Muth said. Muth took responsibility of the brigade mid-summer of 2009.
Since that time, he has capitalized on the experience that is still within the brigade as well as taken new ideas and talents from incoming Soldiers to create a team and trust that will continue brigade success and improvement.
Correlation and teamwork between the CAB Soldiers has also taken two battalions to the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., to test their skills, work on their missions and continue working together to better their success upon deployment.
"The great thing is those battalions, when they deploy, they are going to take pieces of the other battalions and create taskforces," Muth has said in previous interviews. "When they deploy they will take Apaches, Chinooks and Blackhawks … and form a cohesive team and that multi-complex capability which has all aviation aspects to it. I'm proud that I get to stand in formation with these Soldiers every day."
Families of Soldiers also have been preparing for the deployment, taking time to go on vacation, go home or just spend quality time during the weeks of block leave each Soldier has received prior to this point.
Lt. Col. Christopher Prather, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, said he and his Family took the time to take a Disney cruise where his son, Aidan, 5, was able to meet Mickey Mouse.
While Prather was over the ocean, Spc. Titus Richardson, also of 2nd GSAB, 1st Avn. Regt., and his wife Latisha spent time celebrating their son's second birthday a few weeks early so everyone could take part.
"We went to the zoo," the Richardson's said, each adding that Caden revealed his excitement for monkeys while they were there. "He loves the monkeys," Latisha said, with love in her eyes, and courage in her heart as she said goodbye to her husband as he leaves for his 12-month deployment.