By Spc. Monica K. Smith, 3rd CAB, 3rd ID Public AffairsDecember 2, 2009
BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division's Combat Aviation Brigade made history as they uncased their Colors in a transfer of authority ceremony at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, Nov. 24.
"The 3rd Infantry Division is a world-renowned fighting organization that is known for two things: starting a fight, and finishing one," said Col. Don Galli, commander of the 3rd CAB. "The Marne Air Brigade is dedicated to that purpose as the first combat brigade from the 3rd Infantry Division to join the fight in Afghanistan."
The majority of Soldiers from the 3rd CAB, now Task Force Falcon, based out of Hunter Army Airfield, began arriving in late summer in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Taking over for 159th CAB (Task Force Thunder), 101st Airborne Division, the 3rd CAB will fall under the 82nd Airborne Division's operations in and around Regional Command East.
As Task Force Falcon took control, they paid homage to the outgoing Task Force Thunder.
"(The 159th CAB has) served our Nation and the cause of freedom in Afghanistan with honor, and you have added to the legend of the 101st Airborne Division, Air Assault," said Col. Galli. "Your brigade has set the standard by which all of Army Aviation will be measured. Today, as we transfer authority from Task Force Thunder to Task Force Falcon, the records we seek to break are yours."
Though the majority of the brigade arrived in November, components of the brigade began deploying from Hunter Army Airfield as early as September.
"All National Guard units have a deployment cycle (that is) 12-months long, including their mobilization time, which results in about nine months in country before having to go home," said 3rd CAB Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Stidley. "Because their cycle is off from the CAB, we sent out our Medical Evacuation Company ahead to take on the missions of the outgoing National Guard MEDEVAC company."
The 3rd CAB is organized by four multifunctional task forces comprised of UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters and MEDEVAC helicopters, AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopters, CH-47D Chinook helicopters, and the OH-58 Kiowa Warriors. In addition the 3rd CAB benefits from the skills of their aviation support battalion and an integrated reserve component from Texas.
This deployment marks the brigade's fourth deployment since 2003 in support of an Era of Persistent Conflict. The brigade's previous deployments were during the initial invasion into Iraq in 2003, OIF III in 2005 and OIF V in 2007.