Task Force Attack draws the line in the sand
August 10, 2011
FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan -- "When the challenge is drawn in the sand…the Soldiers step up," said Maj. Paul Berg, a native of Stuttgart, Ark., executive officer of Task Force Attack.
No statement could be closer to the truth when in regards to the Soldiers of TF Attack, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, who are conducting operations in Regional Command East, Afghanistan, and are currently attached to 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division.
"We have a very good team here," said Berg. "This is my fourth deployment, and this is the best team I've been with so far."
The best team is exactly what is needed right now in RC East, as the operational tempo is incredibly high.
Lt. Col. Douglas Brockhard, a native of Colombia, S.C., and commander of TF Attack, compared the escalated operational tempo to a NASCAR pit-team functionality when he described the demand for aviation support.
"The demand outweighs what we have on hand," he said.
Brockhard elaborated how due to the demand, the task force is forced to operate under launch-recover-launch conditions, so that when an aircraft lands, maintainers, armament, and fuelers must be out there with the aircraft preparing it for the next team to take off, making for a NASCAR mentality.
However, when any unit flies as much as TF Attack is flying, maintenance becomes an issue and a challenge: one that Berg describes as an everyday battle that requires team effort.
This team effort is evident throughout the ranks of TF Attack, and can be seen in the actions of much of the leadership, said Berg.
One way they are combating this maintenance challenge is through the sacrifice of non air-crew Soldiers within TF Attack.
Usually, door gunner slots in Army aircraft are filled by the crew chiefs themselves. However, in TF Attack, from the battalion command sergeant major on down, non aircrew Soldiers have been volunteering to man the guns during missions, allowing the aviation maintainers the necessary time they need to work on the aircraft, and to recover.
Yet sheer demand for aviation support is not the only challenge TF Attack has faced in Afghanistan.
One other major challenge they faced is their separation from their parent brigade, the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, and their attachment to the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.
Nevertheless, this transition took place without nary a hiccup, which Brockhard attributes to the great relationship between 10th CAB and TF Attack, and their respective leadership, which consists of senior leaders in both units that have worked together prior to this deployment.
Furthermore, Col. Pedro Almeida, a native of New Bedford, Mass., commander of 10th CAB and TF Falcon, talked about the apparently seamless integration of the Soldiers of TF Attack into the 10th CAB.
"TF Attack Soldiers have blended in with their Task Force Falcon counterparts extraordinarily well and made a difference in accomplishing this tough mission at the incredible kinetic and flying operational tempo that defines RC-East," said Almeida.
In the end the success that TF Attack has already garnered speaks volumes of the hard work, sacrifice, and dedication that the Attack team has brought in RC East.
When asked if TF Attack can maintain this operational tempo successfully throughout the year's deployment, Berg replied confidently.
"We'll be great, this is what we've trained for; this is why we do what we do," he said. "We came here prepared and ready, and we couldn't have asked for a better team in order to execute the mission in the most difficult terrain, with the toughest enemy, everyday."