First elements of 10th Combat Aviation Brigade case colors ahead of deployment
March 14, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Nearly 100 Soldiers from the medical evacuation company of 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (LI), are scheduled to be the first from the brigade to deploy to Afghanistan this spring. C Company Dustoff, 3-10 General Support Aviation Battalion, cased its colors during a ceremony Friday at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield.
"First and foremost, this ceremony marks a spot in time where we make clear the soon departure of a superb medevac company to combat operations," said Lt. Col Anthony A. Meador, commander of 3-10 GSAB and Task Force Phoenix. "Secondly, this ceremony brings reality to all 10th CAB Families and friends the brigade's ultimate deployment, as this company is the first unit from the brigade to deploy into Afghanistan for this particular rotation."
The unit conducted rigorous training over the past year. Soldiers supported Operation Mountain Peak last summer; conducted two National Training Center rotations to Fort Irwin, Calif., supporting 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams; and a rotation to the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La.
In addition, they provided medevac coverage during the brigade's three months of High Altitude Mountain Environment Training at Fort Carson, Colo., and conducted rotations into the emergency rooms of Watertown's Samaritan Medical Center and Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse.
Each aviator also attended five weeks of aircraft qualification training on the new HH-60M Black Hawk helicopter while the unit provided medevac coverage for the Fort Drum training area. In October, medevac crews were called upon to support Super Storm Sandy relief efforts.
"Such an incredible and successful train-up to combat is a tribute to the leadership of this company," Meador said. "Maj. Chris Logan and 1st Sgt. Derek Kubacki have pushed this company in many ways from Fort Polk to Fort Irwin to Fort Carson such that what was once a body of individuals is today a team of teams."
The company will return to eastern Afghanistan, an area about the size of the state of Ohio, where it deployed from 2010 to 2011 and executed more than 3,000 medevac missions and moved more than 4,400 patients.
Maj. Christopher L. Logan, commander of C Company, 3-10 GSAB, reminded his aviators not to expect this deployment to be like those in the past.
"Even though most of us have had multiple deployments, we will approach this deployment as if it is our first," Logan said. "This deployment will be unlike any of the previous ones; we will be faced with complex difficulties and new challenges as the mission focus shifts from a combat role to a support and assist role. There is one thing that will not change, however, and that is our ability to save the lives of all those we support."
The unit traces its lineage to the 159th Medical Detachment, which first saw action in World War II and then distinguished itself in four Korean War campaigns. The unit began dedicated service as an air ambulance unit Dec. 24, 1963, at Fort Riley, Kan., and supported 25th Infantry Division during the Vietnam War. In 2006, the unit deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, providing medical evacuation support throughout Afghanistan. The unit later reorganized, relocated to Fort Drum and was redesignated to the unit it is known as today. Soldiers of C Company, 3-10 GSAB, deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2008.
"Charlie Company, you are no stranger to combat," Meador said. "You are not foreign to the task of evacuating America's most precious resource to higher levels of medical care. And you are certainly not new to the enemy threat that exists within the area of operations you are about to enter.
"New challenges face us as we continue to provide dedicated unhesitating service to our fighting forces," he added. "You will rise and meet these challenges, you will demonstrate unparalleled strength with your rapid response times and you will exhibit care and compassion as each of your patients will require."