While the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade was deploying, a handful of Soldiers from the unit stayed behind to assist with the preparation and deployment procedures, officially beginning on Sept. 30, and ending on Oct. 27.

For the rear detachment Soldiers, their days often started at four in the morning and worked through the night. During that time they managed the baggage of the deploying Soldiers, provided food services, coordinated transportation, loaded humvees, and directed family members.

Although sometimes overlooked, the rear detachment played a very important role, said Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Ortega from Headquarters Support Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th CAB. Ortega is the noncommissioned officer in charge of the operation and an Army Achievement Medal awardee.

"It was important because in order for the individuals to actually depart from the installation, we have to make sure everything is in place," said Ortega. "The primary focus is getting Soldiers from point A to point B, and we are trying to mitigate everything in between."

Although the mission involved lots of long days and hard work, Soldiers were able to see the benefits of their efforts, said Pvt. Kevin Sheperd, another AAM recipient, and an avionic and survivability equipment repairer from Bravo Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th CAB.

"It was rewarding to see a lot of first time deploying Soldiers and being on the back end of the mission," said Sheperd. "I know that at some point, I am going to get deployed, so it was good to do this first and get ready for my own deployment in the future."

Although many Soldiers assisted in deployment preparations, a few Soldiers were recognized for going above and beyond.

"It feels good to be recognized," said Sheperd. "I am really hard on myself, so for someone else to recognize me, I feel really good about it."