Vice Chief of Staff spends time with fellow aviators in Iraq
Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff and a master aviator (left), talks with Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jeff Hartford at Camp Taji, Iraq Feb. 12. Hartford, an Apache pilot in Task Force XII's 4th Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, was mentored by Cody earlier in his Army career.

CAMP TAJI, Iraq (Feb. 13, 2008) -- Gen. Richard Cody, the Army's vice chief of staff, made a special visit to Task Force XII Feb. 12.

TF XII is the aviation task force headed by the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade that supports Multi-National Division - Baghdad. Cody is a master aviator with more than 5,000 hours of flight time.

Since taking on the responsibility of providing aviation support to MND-B, task force Soldiers have adjusted to that mission while continuing to improve operations each day, said Col. Timothy Edens, the commander of TF XII and 12th CAB.

Task Force XII Soldiers briefed the general on the unit's current and future operations, tactics, techniques and procedures.

"Task Force Storm currently launches (nearly 75 percent) of our aircraft every day," said Lt. Col. James Macklin Jr., commander of TF Storm and 12th CAB's 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation. "Due to the outstanding job of our (flight crews) and maintainers, I think we're doing a great job of providing the division what they need."

TF Storm is the air assault battalion for TF XII.

"Our unmanned aerial vehicle pilots are well trained and our handoffs (with brigade combat teams) are going pretty good," Capt. Shirwen Separa, commander of Company G, TF XII, told the general.

Cody commended TF XII Soldiers on their safety record during this deployment.

"You're the first combat aviation brigade to not have an accident within their first 90 days in theater," he said. "You're off to a tremendous start, so please continue to do whatever you're doing."

Although Cody said Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of Multi-National Corps - Iraq and the Army's III Corps, has been nominated to replace him as the Army's vice chief of staff in mid- to late summer, he added that he is confident the Army will continue to provide aviators the tools they need to complete their missions.

Cody concluded his visit by thanking the leaders of Task Force XII for a job well done and reminded them to continue to look out for their Soldiers.

"Remember to take care of those wonderful maintainers and crew chiefs, because they are just as important as the pilots," said Cody. "This (task force) has shown great discipline and I'm awful proud of you and what you've been doing."

The 12th CAB is a U.S. Army Europe unit headquartered in Ansbach, Germany.

Page last updated Wed February 13th, 2008 at 09:54