Task Force Lobos Jan 2012 newsletter
newsletter v3 2012
Volume 3, Issue 1 TASK FORCE LOBOS 31 January 2012 Task Force Lobos, Regional Command-North, Afghanistan Task Force Commander LTC Huff and Command Sergeant Major Soliz stand beside the massive Task Force Lobos mural at Camp Marmal, Afghanistan. Featuring updates from: HHC/Wolfpack 1 A CAC/Vultures A ASLT/Werewolves B CO/Blackcats 2 B ATK/Reapers C CO/Witchdoctors D CO/ Outlaws 3 E CO/Renegades F CO/Ravens Rear Det/Rear Guard 4 Task Force Lobos began the new year by building upon the reputation for excellence and reliability that our passengers expect. Occasional breaks in the harsh winter weather allowed us to fly more hours in January than in previous winter months, enabling a larger role for our Task Force in the broader Regional CommandNorth mission. After eight full months of combat operations, our supported ground forces rely heavily on the unique capabilities that our forces bring to the fight. Capel praised the discipline, excellence, and leadership of the Task Force’s noncommissioned officers and Soldiers, taking special notice of the teamwork between the aviation support functions and aircrews that enable each mission to take place. This month, the Task Force conducted its most complex air assault to date, involving four different airframes, a multi-national assault force, and requiring our aircrews to execute extremely difficult tactical maneuvers at remote sites. We depended on This month we executed a battle- each of our nine companies to field circulation for the ISAF Com- flawlessly conduct its mission mand Sergeant Major just days under the increased pressure of a after his assumption of responsi- high profile mission. Our success, bility. During his visit, our crews including the capture of several conducted several VIP movehigh value enemies, speaks volment missions in Regional Com- umes of our Soldiers’ intense skill mand-North, enabling CSM Capel and professionalism. to visit several of our mission partners. At the end of his visit, This month we received the Brihe made a special point to visit gade’s redeployment operation with Task Force Lobos, where he order, which thoroughly outlined met the hardworking men and the preparations, responsibilities, women who contributed to the and tasks that will lead to our success of his battlefield circula- return to Fort Hood. The Battaltion. Upon his departure, CSM ion staff immediately began Wolfpack Although I’ve been in command for a short period of time, I cannot be more proud of the Wolfpack. Every Soldier has impressed me with their commitment to completing their part of the Task Force’s mission. Despite the colder temperatures, they maintain positive attitudes and our motivated and hardworking Soldiers take care of each other. I look forward SPC Bently and SPC Darby receive awards from LTC Huff to leading the Wolfduring a promotion ceremony on Camp Marmal. pack as it completes its deployment and throughout my tenure as commander. This past month the Wolfpack conducting two promotion ceremonies. CPT Jackson was recently promoted to MAJ, and PV2 Martin was promoted to PFC. In addition to the promotions, HHC had the privilege of recognizing those Soldiers who performed above the standard in their duties. The Soldiers of the S-1 section earned Army Achievement Medals for their outstanding efforts distributing 60,000 pounds of mail during the Holiday season, a 60% increase over typical postal operations. In addition to these awards, SPC Darby re- analysis of the operation order, and will soon provide guidance to our companies. Redeploying the aircraft, vechiles, equipment, and Soldiers of the Brigade’s largest aviation task force will require detailed planning, engaged leadership at all levels, and the diligent efforts of every member of our team. Although this brings with it challenging work, it also signifies the gradual approach to the conclusion of our tour in Afghanistan. While on mid-tour leave in the Fort Hood area, I made a personal visit to our Rear Detachment. During this visit, I executed the Detachment change of command, welcoming CPT Fritz Beck as the new Rear Guard Commander. I also took the opportunity to meet several new Soldiers, and observe the work the Rear Detachment conducts on a daily basis. This visit assured me that our Rear Detachment remains well led, engaged in its mission, and composed of dedicated Soldiers eager to contribute to the Task Force. - LOBO6 ceived the Good Conduct Medal for her outstanding service in the S-6 shop. I would also like to thank Sheri Beck for all of her selfless work as the FRG Leader. She recently passed her duties to Victoria Goepfert and Gina Oden who will co-lead the FRG for the foreseeable future. The Wolfpack truly appreciates Victoria and Gina for volunteering and taking the time to contribute to such a great organization. To all Wolfpack Family and friends, I extend my thanks for your personal service and sacrifice to our team! Wolfpack 6 Page 2 Vultures Despite our hope for warmer temperatures and better flying conditions, January continued to present unfavorable weather for our crews. To overcome the challenge presented by the winter weather, our crew chiefs and night shift pilots installed insulation in our flight line tents to keep us warm during mission planning. Despite the slower mission schedule, the Vultures continued to excel in all VIP missions, conducting air movement missions for the chief logistician in Afghanistan as well as the ISAF Joint Command Commander. Whenever possible, Vulture instructor pilots conducted training for pilots and crews. Having recently completed external tank qualification, pilots are now conducting sling load and Night Vision Goggle proficiency Werewolves As the Werewolves entered 2012, our team demonstrated its stalwart commitment to safely and proficiently completing assigned missions. Despite an increased demand for our capabilities as Task Force Lobos’ only assault helicopter company and a decrease in available crews due to R&R, the Werewolves employed the highest levels of teamwork and selfless service to complete assigned missions. This month, the Werewolves celebrated the promotion of SPC Christensen to Sergeant. In celebration of this event and to welcome 2012, CPT Moore hosted the first “Coffee and Cohiba Night,” which included a bonfire, gourmet coffee, cigars, and an opportunity for aircrews to reflect on our experi- Blackcats As we complete the first month of 2012, the Blackcats look forward to completing our TASK FORCE LOBOS training. This training, often conducted between combat missions, will enhance our company’s capabilities to support the troops on the ground throughout northern Afghanistan, and makes the team more versatile. The Vultures continued to make an impact throughout the Battalion on short notice missions. The Vulture night crew, led by CW3 Harrington, aided in an important downed aircraft recovery mission and provided assistance rescuing its pilots. Secondly, the Vultures provided quick reaction teams during a day-long air assault operation. Our contribution to the mission led to the capture of several high level combatants and helped reinstate security for the local populace. This month the Vultures promoted Specialist Adamos to Sergeant. He demonstrates an excellent work ethic to the company and is a Thanks to all of our supporters as we complete our mission in Afghanistan! Several Vultures pose with LTC Huff and CSM Soliz following SGT Adamos’ promotion ceremony. ences thus far. Later in the month SPC Resmondo proved worthy of promotion to Sergeant at the Battalion Promotion Board. Congratulations to SPC Resmondo for achieving this milestone! Additionally, SGT Redman assumed the duties as 2nd Flight Platoon Sergeant. SFC Taylor, the previous platoon sergeant for 2nd Platoon, moved to the Lobos’ Delta Company to lead Soldiers in the completion of essential maintenance on the Task Force’s fleet. Finally, CPT Denton successfully completed the Pilot-In-Command selection process, and now serves as a fully qualified Day and Night Pilot-in-Command. As always, we offer our deepest thanks to our outstanding FRG and Family members for their support of our ongoing mission in Afghanistan. mission in Afghanistan and preparing for redeployment. Throughout January, the Blackcats continued to demonstrate the highest levels of discipline and aviation expertise, setting the example as the premier heavy lift company in theater. Our exceptional aviators and crew members contributed to the success of each Blackcat mission, overcoming adverse weather, increased mission demands, and the constant absence of key personnel due to R&R leave. This month, four pilots were nominated for a Pilot-in-Command evaluation that will be administered during the next two months. Their success during these evaluations will increase the Company’s combat capabilities, CW2 Skelton and CW2 Westra complete mission planning before a flight from Camp Marmal. leader among our company’s Soldiers. His well deserved promotion recognized his efforts helping maintain eight fully mission capable aircraft to compete our missions. CPT Denton and CW2 Russell pose beside the American flag secured to a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter. and will serve as a major milestone in their development as aviators. Additionally, the company conducted continuous training of aviators and crew members, using inclement weather days as opportunities to increase the skill of our aircrews. The company also began preparations for its upcoming Aviation Resource Management Survey. This inspection ensures aviation units meet Department of the Army requirements in the conduct of our duties. We continue to receive packages and letters from our Family and friends, and we’d like to thank each of you for the continued support. As always, we thank the exceptional ladies who lead our readiness group for their dedication to our Soldiers. Page 3 Volume 3, Issue 1 Reapers As we push through the long days of a very cold winter, and the holiday season fades from recent memory, the Reapers came one month closer to packing up and heading back to Greetings from the Witchdoctors of Charlie Company. With our completion of January, the company eagerly looked forward to slightly warmer weather and our quickly approaching redeployment. Our aircrews remain fully committed to providing the highest standard of medical evacuation and patient care in all of Afghanistan. Throughout dozens of missions executed during the month, our crews exceeded expectations of proficiency, responsiveness, and safety. Looking back, the month of January stands out as one of the Witchdoctor’s most productive, as each site conducted valuable multi-national training while remaining vigilant in its critical MEDEVAC mission. We continued to integrate German, Finnish, and Norwegian Soldiers into realistic live training exercises. Our goal during these events remains to prepare our supported ground forces for the critical moment when they may call upon our services in the heat of battle. Additionally, we began basic familiarization training with Afghan medics, a definite step toward handing the reigns of medical response to the Afghans. These fledgling warriors look up to our Soldiers and typically show sincere eagerness to learn how we conduct business. to immediately recover both pilots and the aircraft. Throughout the incident, the Task Force Lobos’ team displayed incredible teamwork and the highest levels of proficiency as it came together to complete the recovery. As the remaining days in Afghanistan draw to a close, we continue planning for our redeployment to Fort Hood. This month began the effort in earnest, as aircraft transfers and plans for packing and shipping equipment home helped posture the brigade for a smooth redeployment. In addition to equipment movement, our Soldiers sharpened their skills as crew members, recertifying individual and crew skills and conducting training in the air and on the ground. These efforts will position the company for success through the remainder of the deployment and after we have returned home. hearts remain with our loved ones at home. Dustoff!! As we wade into the final third of the deployment, we remind ourselves to keep attentive to our mission and the daily tasks that ensure we operate in the safest manner possible. Your support, in all regards, gives us 1SG Dove supervises hoist training involving German the strength and focus to accomplish our Soldiers at Camp Marmal. mission in Afghanistan, even while our Outlaws SPC Sargent and SPC Masteller prepare an engine for installation on a UH-60. The first order of business for the month is to thank all of the Families and friends who helped make the holidays so special through all of the care packages, food, cards, and well wishes we received throughout the previous month. Though we were far from home, we had a stocking hanging for every Soldier in the company and appreciated all of the efforts the FRG put into making everyone feel close to home and those we love. As many in the Reaper family heard, the company endured a serious incident when one of our aircraft made a hard landing while out on mission. Thankfully, both pilots walked away from the incident uninjured. Additionally, everyone in the company and Task Force acted quickly and appropriately Members of the Reapers’ night shift pose for a photograph by the Company command post. Witchdoctors Texas. January was a busy month for us as breaks in the winter weather enabled the company to fly more hours and contribute to the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade’s mission. The month of January proved both busy and rewarding for the Outlaws. Motivated to start a new year and build on our great work in 2011, the company engaged in multiple major missions that enabled the Lobos to successfully support the ground troops with fully mission capable aircraft. Aircraft maintenance has been unrelenting in the New Year, and the Outlaws confidently faced the demands of the Battalion’s operations tempo by exceeding expectations in every instance. Task Force Lobos contributed to our Soldiers’ high morale through a new program that rewards a different maintainer every week with a Battalion Coin and Certificate of Achievement. Delta Company Soldiers jumped at the chance to be recognized for the excellent work they do on a daily basis. The company has begun preparing for the upcoming change of responsibility for our company first sergeant. 1SG Parras has been an invaluable asset to the Outlaw family and will be returning to Fort Hood after the change of responsibility to set conditions for the Battalion’s redeployment. We have started preparing equipment for turn in and have started packing our first containers for redeployment. The Soldiers are very excited to start the tasks of cleaning and packing the equipment for what lay ahead. We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and look forward to our return home. Renegades The month of January proved an extremely busy month for Echo Company. The Sol- SPC Desmond and PFC Castleberry conduct maintenance in the Renegade motor pool. Ravens This month, the Ravens remained intensely focused on continuing operations and planning for redeployment. SGT Sanders, SSG Williams, and SSG Ramos have been selected to serve as our company’s redeployment NCOICs, and have dedicated themselves to making the upcoming transition as smooth as possible. Their efforts planning for redeployment will pay dividends as we approach our return home! At Kunduz, WO1 Millan and his team have continued to provide first class air traffic control services for a growing population of supported airframes. They have happily noted improvements in the quality of life at their location, including the installation of a US dining facility and the expansion and Rear Guard The month of January proved a month of transition for the Rear Guard. In addition to our ongoing mission to prepare Soldiers to deploy, care for injured Soldiers, and provide assistance to individuals preparing to depart the Army, the Rear Guard welcomed a new commander and firmly embraced a new mission — setting conditions for the impending return of our forward deployed Soldiers. diers continued to accomplish every task thrown their way. Despite a high operations tempo, our Soldiers showed higher motivation as they prepared to redeploy. Maintenance Platoon received 2LT Davis as its new Platoon Leader. The Platoon’s Soldiers assisted in equipment layouts and inventories during his transition, while continuing to complete day-to-day missions. Our Soldiers worked 40 straight hours with minimum breaks to replace a fuel truck’s engine, recovered seven vehicles, and conducted services on trucks and generators. The Distribution Platoon issued 115,000 gallons of fuel and 18 types of ammunition to aircraft this month. Their rotational work schedule allowed Soldiers to conduct operations at each site while gaining valuable experience. The Platoon welcomed 1LT Gaines refurbishment of the Kunduz gym. At MES, I selected SFC Mcleod to serve as company first sergeant while 1SG Pinckney enjoyed his much deserved leave. Additionally this month, SPC Willis received special training in the seizure of Air Traffic Control facilities. This unique training will prove invaluable as he continues to develop as a Soldier and future leader in the Army Air Traffic Control community. Meymaneh saw our last Private First Class join the ranks of Specialist this month. Congratulations to SPC Emory. Additionally, Shindand celebrated another Raven’s promotion to SGT. Congratulations to SGT Whittaker for reaching this milestone in your career, and welcome to the NCO ranks. Both promotions signify these Soldiers’ potential for service in positions of increased responsibility. This month, the Rear Guard hosted LTC Huff during his short visit to Fort Hood. His visit provided him with the opportunity to personally meet the dozens of new Soldiers who arrived to the Lobos Team after the start of the deployment. He also provided guidance to the Rear Guard leadership regarding its preparations to receive the Task Force following its upcoming redeployment to Fort Hood. The Rear Guard also welcomed CPT Fritz Beck as its new commander. Formerly the commander of the Lobos’ Headquarters Company at Camp Marmal, Afghanistan, CPT Beck will command the Rear Detachment through the remainder of the Lobos’ deployment, as well as during the reintegration and max leave period that immediately follows the Task Force’s return. The seamless transitions be- as its Platoon Leader, and 5 new Soldiers joined the team to enhance capabilities. This month Headquarters Platoon passed a Preventive Medicine inspection at the Airfield DFAC. They also completed the packing of equipment that will be redeployed to Fort Hood. The Soldiers from Headquarters Platoon also started laying the foundation for a new building they will soon construct for Distribution Platoon. All three platoons came together to support a very big air assault mission the Lobos recently completed. Our Soldiers assisted this mission with fuel transportation, food for the assault force of 350 Soldiers, and dispensed 15,000 gallons of fuel during the mission. This team effort demonstrated the excellence with which the Renegades complete assigned missions. As to be expected, Fox Company continues to set the standard for performance and discipline. I remain proud of our formation and thankful for all the support we continue receiving from home. Ravens! Soldiers pose for a photo next to the Kunduz tower following shift change. tween CPT Berg, CPT Anderson, and now CPT Beck over the past several months demonstrate the strength of the Rear Guard leaders and Soldiers, especially considering the Detachment’s responsibility for a battalion-sized property book and our everexpanding footprint on the Fort Hood Airfield. The Rear Guard remains committed to serving all Task Force Lobos Family members throughout the remaining months of the deployment. Family members are encouraged to contact their company Family Readiness Groups for information, or the Rear Guard via the following email addresses: CPT Fritz Beck at email@example.com and SFC Kort Hurley at firstname.lastname@example.org.