Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend (facing colors), Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, joins Col. David J. Francis, left, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Chad A. Cuomo, right, 10th CAB senior enlisted adviser, in casing the 10th CAB colors during a ceremony Tuesday at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. The ceremony signals the unit's upcoming nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Falcon, 10th Mountain Division (LI), along with four of its subordinate task forces, cased its colors during a deployment ceremony Tuesday at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. The ceremony marks the unit's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan -- its fifth deployment in support of the global war on terrorism and its fourth deployment to Afghanistan.

The Falcon Brigade, which returned from a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan in October 2011, spent the past year conducting numerous training events in preparation for such a deployment.

Training included aerial gunneries at Fort Drum; rotations to the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La., and the National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.; high altitude mountainous environment training in Colorado; supporting 10th Mountain Division's Mountain Peak exercise; Pathfinder live-fire operations; field training exercises; convoy live-fire exercises; and a brigade / battalion command and staff aviation operations exercise at Fort Rucker, Ala.

"This brigade is ready," said Col. David J. Francis, 10th CAB commander. "They are well-trained, their leaders are well-trained, and they are ready to handle the challenges that lay ahead."

Nearly 1,800 Soldiers from the brigade will depart over the coming weeks for a nine-month deployment to eastern Afghanistan. The Falcon Brigade will join Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team and 2nd Brigade Combat Team in eastern Afghanistan.

"We embark on this deployment at a key time for Afghanistan and at a key time for this division," Francis said. "We are going to continue to enable Afghan National Security Forces to provide security for their own country and to fulfill our sacred duty of supporting our commanders on the ground."

The task force's aviation assets include UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, primarily for transport of passengers and supplies; HH-60 Black Hawk helicopters for medical evacuation; CH-47 Chinook helicopters for heavy lift and passenger transport; AH-64 Apache helicopters for close air support; and OH-58 Kiowa helicopters for reconnaissance.

In addition, the brigade will provide critical assets for air and ground maintenance, air traffic control, aircraft and personnel recovery, intelligence, logistics, communication, medical, personnel administration, food service and operations.

Francis recognized those within the unit, as well as those outside, who help prepare his Soldiers and their Families for the deployment.

"Our volunteers work untold thousands of hours ensuring that our systems are prepared to support our Families, and that no Family Member is alone," he said. "I think of our family readiness group leaders who devote their time, talent and energy to the Families of the brigade while raising their own Families, working or going to school.

"The support of the installation and the local community is second to none," Francis added, "and the North Country community continues to go above and beyond in support of the Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division."

The 10th CAB deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003, 2006 and 2010; the unit deployed to Iraq in 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Page last updated Thu April 18th, 2013 at 00:00