Teamwork sets Air Cav. on right foot for deployment
May 9, 2009
CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait - The Soldiers of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, are not a unit - they're a team.
At least that's what it looked like from the ground.
Heavy cranes and vehicles moved aircraft from boats while Soldiers assembled aircraft for flight after their long journey on the sea.
With all this seemingly choreographed commotion, it wouldn't be obvious that there were five different units that worked at the port - just one big team.
And that's how Chief Warrant Officer 4 Cliff Meade, from Redding, Calif., a battalion aviation maintenance officer for 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cav. Bde., 1st Cav. Div., felt about the port mission.
"I've managed to deploy with this brigade a couple of times now and there's just something about this brigade," Meade said. "Soldiers come into this brigade and there's a sense of pride ... it's like they come in and say, 'hey, we're assigned to a team!'"
That same team worked at the port where they got the deployment off on the right foot, Meade said.
"I would say the port operation is the pre-game locker room chat and now we're ready to go out and win this game," Meade said.
If that analogy holds true, the 1st Air Cav. Bde. "Warriors" have a great game ahead of them, said Col. Douglas Gabram, from Cleveland, Ohio, the commander of the Warriors.
The Soldiers moved over 60 aircraft from the boat, reassembled them, and moved them to here, all in about 72 hours - an amazing feat of ability and speed, Gabram said.
On top of that, not a single trooper was injured and not one aircraft damaged in the process, Gabram said.
Sgt. 1st Class John Blanshan, from Edmore, Mich., the production control noncommissioned officer in charge for 4th Attack Helicopter Battalion, 227th Avn. Regt., 1st Air Cav. Bde., 1st Cav. Div., stressed the importance of safety.
Soldiers don't normally work in the ever-changing environment of the port, so it was important that they worked as a team and worked in a very methodical and deliberate manner, Blanshan said.
The short amount of time in which they accomplished the mission was a welcome bonus, Meade said.
"You can't put it to a timeline. The goal is to do it safely, without injuring Soldiers and without damaging aircraft," Meade said.
To do it in such a swift manner is just "icing on the cake," Meade said.
To help with the team effort, but not necessarily turn wrenches, was the 615th Aviation Support Battalion, 1st Air Cav. Bde.
615th ASB helped keep the logistical side of the operation - like food, shelter, manning - moving so that the Soldiers working didn't have to worry about anything else but the aircraft in front of them, Meade said.
Even the Soldier who was working on his particular aircraft wasn't alone - he had help from the other units, said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Frank Turinsky, a battalion maintenance officer for 4th Attack Helicopter Battalion, 227th Avn. Regt., 1st Air Cav. Bde., 1st Cav. Div.
When we were at Fort Hood, Texas, all the battalions had their own space and didn't have to work with each other very much - if at all, Turinsky said.
But at the port all that changed, he said.
"As a brigade, we worked as a team across all the battalions," Turinsky said. "Whenever one unit would get to point in their maintenance where they were caught up, we had no problem with helping the other aviation platforms get their stuff ready too."
Now all of the Warrior Brigade's aircraft are here and are gearing up for their 12-month deployment to Iraq - thanks to team Warrior.
"At the end of the day, it was those Soldiers who were out there turning the wrenches - those are the true heroes," Meade said.