BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Task Force Thunder, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), officially took over aviation operations in Regional Command East from Task Force Falcon, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, during a transfer of authority ceremony held at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Jan. 18, 2014.
During the past few months, soldiers with Task Force Falcon and Task Force Thunder have been working together conducting relief in place, as Task Force Falcon prepared to end their deployment and Task Force Thunder prepared to assume authority.
"I've participated in quite a few RIPs [relief in places]," said Col. Jimmy Blackmon, the commander of Task Force Thunder. "I can't say I've seen one go this smoothly, and that is due primarily because of the officers, NCOs and soldiers of the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade."
The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade commander also spoke during the ceremony.
"To Col. Jimmy Blackmon and Command Sgt. Maj. Ron Dvorsky, you have an incredible organization that is ready to take the fight today," said Col. Dave Francis, commander of Task Force Falcon. "It has been a pleasure executing this RIP with you, and we wish you all the best and God speed as you take the controls today."
With the execution of the Relief in Place and transition of authority ceremonies complete, Task Force Thunder's attention turns towards providing aviation support for RC-East in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The Thunder Brigade is coming into theater at a critical point in history, where the unit will provide support during the Afghan election process and assist the people with securing their own country.
"The Thunder Brigade has trained hard over the past 18 months in preparation for this opportunity to serve at such an important time in our nation's history," said Blackmon. "Our team is trained, disciplined and fit. They are committed to the mission, each other and the entire team that we are so privileged to join in RC-East."