"Griffin" Brigade assumes responsibility for aviation mission in Northern Afghanistan.
June 14, 2012
MAZAR-I-SHARIF, AFGHANISTAN -- The 12th Combat Aviation Brigade "Griffins", took over for the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade in a ceremony marking the transfer of authority here on May 24th, 2012.
Elements of the 12th CAB deployed from Germany, along with an Attack Reconnaissance Battalion of the Utah National Guard, to forward operating bases throughout Northern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The brigade consists of four Task Forces, providing aviation support in various sectors of the Regional Command North area of operations to NATO and International Security Assistance Forces, as well as Afghan National Security Forces. Each of the task forces operates with a mix of helicopters, including the UH-60 Blackhawk, the AH-64D Apache Longbow and the CH-47 Chinook. Task Force Ready, Task Force Professional and the CAB Headquarters operate from the German controlled Camp Marmal in Mazar-e-Sharif, while TF Pirate operates from FOB Kunduz and COP Khilogay in the north east of Afghanistan and TF Storm operates from Shindand in the western province of Herat.
Soldiers from the 12th CAB started arriving in Afghanistan in April and spent the last month learning the operational environment with their counterparts from the outgoing brigade. The process, called "relief in place - transfer of authority", or RIP-TOA, can take anywhere from a week to a month, depending on the complexity of the job. By the end of the RIP, the incoming Soldiers were as eager to begin running operations as the outgoing Soldiers were to return home.
While this marks the first deployment for many junior Soldiers in the 12th CAB, this is the first deployment in five years for the Utah National Guard's 1-211th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion. 1-211th ARB, operating out of Kunduz as Task Force Pirate, spent four months at Fort Hood, Texas prior to deploying, and for many, this is their first time working with an active duty Combat Aviation Brigade. Despite the difference in experiences, TF Pirate integrated seamlessly with the 12th CAB.
In each Task Force, the enthusiasm is evident and the attitudes are positive. Griffin Soldiers, Guard and Active alike, are eager to get to work.