By Staff Sgt. Kelly ChodkowskiNovember 21, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) are no strangers to deployment. So when they were called upon to assist with Hurricane Sandy relief efforts in New York and New Jersey, there was no hesitation.
Aviators from the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Phoenix, moved out from Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Oct. 31 to support relief efforts from the air. The task force deployed four each UH-60 Black Hawks and HH-60 medevac-equipped helicopters and two CH-47 Chinooks, along with about 100 crew members. Aviation support was necessary to conduct damage assessments as well as to move supplies and equipment.
Additional division Soldiers received the warning order Nov. 3, and within 48 hours, they were convoying to hard-hit areas of New York City and the New Jersey shore to provide assistance and fuel to first responders.
"The element was alerted on a Saturday afternoon," said Lt. Col. Scott Nauman, division chief of operations. "They spent all day Sunday converting their tankers (to dispense fuel into civilian vehicles) and then departed Fort Drum on (Nov. 5)."
By the time the rest of Fort Drum was up and preparing for physical training on Nov. 5, Soldiers of 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, as well as elements of 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams and the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, were en route for Operation Sandy Support.
The first Task Force Support elements arrived at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J., before noon. Twenty-four hours later, all Task Force Support elements were co-located and prepared to support Sandy relief. In all, some 400 Soldiers, 60 fuel trucks, 20 Humvees, 15 Light Medium Tactical Vehicles, four cargo trailers, three water trailers and two military field ambulances had moved from Fort Drum to JBMDL.
Although the work was hard and the conditions less than ideal, Soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division understood the importance of their work.
"U.S. Army is prepared to answer the nation's call no matter what crisis arises," Nauman added.
He also noted the deployment showed the continued versatility of the nation's Army.
Soldiers of Task Force Phoenix returned to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield on Nov. 14, and Task Force Support rolled back Friday.