BY SGT. ALMON BATE
16th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - The 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, finished deploying its final group of Soldiers to Afghanistan Sunday.

The Raptor Brigade deployed about 800 Soldiers in the region to support Operation Freedom's Sentinel for about eight months. The brigade started deploying its Soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McChord March 10.

The brigade takes over the mission from 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, and is providing full-support aviation missions to foster security and stability in the area.

The brigade's task force includes:

• Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade;

• 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment;

• 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment;

• 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment;

• National Guard partners.

Even with technology and other resources at hand, Col. William A. Ryan, 16th CAB commander, highlighted the Soldiers as the brigade's most valuable asset.

"We employ some of the Army's most advanced aviation technology, but it is our tremendous team of Army professionals that will ensure mission success," Ryan said.

As is the case in any deployment, the families of the service members are a crucial part of the Raptor family. The brigade honors their sacrifice and support in every endeavor.

"The hard work this brigade has done over the past 12 to 18 months has prepared it for its mission, but none of it would be possible without the tremendous support and sacrifice of the Raptor Brigade families," said Capt. Brian H. Harris, the brigade's public affairs officer.

Operation Enduring Freedom ended in 2014 and transitioned to Operation Freedom's Sentinel Jan. 1, 2015. Operation Freedom's Sentinel is a mission to train Afghan soldiers and conduct counterterrorism operations against extremists in Afghanistan.