TASK FORCE 3-227 ASSAULT HELICOPTER BATTALION, 1ST AIR CAVALRY BRIGADE, 1ST CAVALRY DIVISION
S P E A R H E A D A S S A U L T N E W S 22 SEPTEMBER 2011
INSIDE THIS ISSUE:
HEADQUARTERS COMPANY “PHANTOM KNIGHTS”
C Company 4-227 “SNAKEYES”
C COMPANY “GHOSTRIDERS”
D COMPANY “ROUGHNECKS”
E COMPANY “REGULATORS”
F COMPANY 1-126
Greetings from ShindandThe weather has finally started to cool down, and in fact, we actually had a few clouds pop up on several days over the past few weeks. All of the Companies are doing very well and I am proud of what your Soldiers are accomplishing on a daily basis. Most Soldiers seemed to have settled into a daily routine now which makes things seem a bit less hectic from day to day. We have also begun sending Soldiers back on R&R (normal leave) so in many cases you might already be visiting with your loved one or will be seeing them shortly. The plan is to give each Soldier R&R at some time during the rotation. We can only send 12% any month so managing Soldiers‟ desires and mission requirements becomes paramount. At times it gets pretty tight, and of course not everyone can come home for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Believe me, I know this is tough, but your Soldiers need your support. All should get a chance to enjoy R&R. We just have to balance our very important mission which saves lives
here, and the timing of individuals leave. Rest assured, we are working very hard here. Task Force Spearhead is the only US Aviation unit in all of Regional Command West which means we are always in high demand. We are continually moving people around all of Western Afghanistan, conducting Air Assaults, delivering essential supplies to isolated bases, and providing Attack aircraft to enable security and engage insurgents who are trying to destabilize the Government of Afghanistan. Of course those missions would not be possible without the tremendous behind the scenes support from Headquarters, Delta and Echo companies. It is this great teamwork that allows our overall success on the battlefield. The troopers of TF Spearhead have also been spotted on their off time enjoying the MWR sponsored events such as basketball, poker and volleyball tourneys. The Green Beans coffee shop has finally opened and has seen a big draw. The TF Spearhead Coffee Shop (built entirely by our Soldiers for our Soldiers) is almost finished
and looks outstanding! (If you want to know what to send, send some K-cups).
gym, coffee shop, and MWR tent that allows Soldiers to relax and refit on their off-hours.
the same kind of relief and support as your Soldiers.
By all accounts, the accomplishments by you, the families and friends of TF Spearhead are just as awesome. The rear-detachment and FRG continues to provide top notch support. Monthly potlucks continue to provide fellowship. BN T-shirts and wrist bands (which fund events for single Soldiers, Christmas gifts, and homecoming events) are selling like hotcakes. It is a super team, one that CSM Pitkus and I are really proud to be a part of and we send our appreciation for all that you do. Until Next time, follow us on Facebook: “3-227th Aviation Regiment, 1ACB”. -Spearhead 06
Spearhead families and friends, Your Soldiers continue to exceed expectations daily. For over 100 days now, every one of them has put forth tremendous efforts to ensure that we are accomplishing our mission over here. As a result of their efforts, we are flying more hours with less aircraft than anyone in the Brigade. It hasn‟t been all work, however, as we have tried to make our piece of land feel more like home by adding a
Thank you all for your continued support; it is the motivating factor that allows our Soldiers to perform at such high levels. Make sure to take full advantage of the FRG opportunities available to you, you deserve
CSM Eric Pitkus (Spearhead 09)
SPEARHEAD ASSAULT NEWS
SPEARHEAD 05 SIGNING ON Thank you for welcoming the Greco Family to the Spearhead Family. Though we‟re new to the unit, we‟re not new to Fort Hood. We‟re excited to be back in Texas, and have appreciated the warm welcome we‟ve received from everyone. Hopefully many of you have already had the opportunity to meet my wife, Karin. We live in Belton with our two kids, Linnea and Caden. We also have a little one on the way that is due in late February.
It‟s an absolute privilege to serve with this incredible team, and I thank all the families for the amazing support you are giving your loved ones over here. Once again, thank you for your warm welcome, and I look forward to meeting you all in person upon our return home. SPEARHEAD ASSAULT! MAJ Scott W. Greco SPEARHEAD 05
THE COMFORTS OF HOME Since our last issue, Task Force Spearhead has settled into our home for the upcoming months. The Soldiers have adjusted to the heat, wind and dust and are working at full operating speed. With the demands this job places on us, it is important to have some connection with the real world. We have focused on making improvements to our living and working conditions.
Specifically, we put together our own gym to provide a means to relieve stress and ensure that we stay physically fit. Additionally, the Spearhead coffee shop and MWR tent are nearing completion. Soldiers will now have their own place to grab a cup of joe, sit back and watch football games, or rock out on Guitar Hero. The Spearhead driving range is also in the works and should provide an additional comfort of home.
RAMADAN (AUGUST 2ND-31ST) Ramadan, the Islamic Holy month, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar (Hijiri). It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn until sunset. Fasting is intended to teach Muslims about patience, humility, and spirituality. It is a time for Muslims to fast for the sake of God and to offer more prayer than usual. During Ramadan, Muslims ask forgiveness for past sins, pray for guidance and help in refraining from everyday evils, and try to purify themselves through self-restraint and good deeds. Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month in which the first verses of the
Qur‟an were revealed to the Islamic prophet, Mohammed. The beginning of Ramadan is marked by Hilal (the crescent), typically a day after the astronomical new moon. The traditional
sighting of the crescent moon with the naked eye has caused disagreements between different countries each year on when Ramadan starts. More recently, some Muslims have resorted to using astronomical calculations to avoid confusion. Since Ramadan is based on a lunar calendar, the dates vary every year, usually moving backwards about eleven days. Therefore, over 34 years time, a person will have fasted every day of the calendar. Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan. Marked by beginning the day in new clothes and going to prayer, followed by visiting or entertaining friends and family. It is common for children to receive small gifts of sweets, clothes and money (known as Eidi).
HHC „PHANTOM KN IGHTS‟ THREE MONTHS DOWN, NINE TO GO!!!
Hello friends, family, and loved ones, welcome from Shindand Airbase once again. HHC has been extremely busy since our last newsletter as you can see from some of the pictures. We have conducted two ranges, CLS training, fire marshal courses, updated shots, several NCO boards, field sanitation classes, and the 1SG and I have even started our own GT Improvement class for the Soldiers. All of this along with our normal everyday tasks that must be completed including R&R Leave, HHC Training Meetings, BN Training Meetings, Flight Schedule meetings, you name it, we do it. Below, you will find a picture of MSG Dossett and CPT Sledge at the HHC ran M4, M16, and M9 Range on 29 July 2011. HHC ran two ranges simultaneously; an M4/16 zero range and an M9, M4/16 qualification range. HHC helped qualify over 70 Soldiers for the Task Force to keep Soldiers current on their assigned weapons. On August 26th, HHC also sent several Soldiers to familiarize themselves with the „Ma-Deuce.‟ This is a creative name for the M2 .50 caliber heavy machine gun made by Browning. To the top right you can see SGT Niederriter on the range with the M2 in the background. All of the Soldiers got a chance to shoot and become familiar with how the M2 operates including head-space and timing.
All of the S-Shops have been doing a fantastic job and are working more effectively and efficiently. The TOC has had the biggest and steepest learning curve as the Soldiers, especially PFC Collins, have come a long way with talking on the radios to the pilots, and tracking the overall battlefield „picture.‟ Below you can see one of the many missions TF Spearhead runs daily. The S3 section tracks Deliberate missions, Air Mission Requests (AMRs), RL Progression, and many other battle centric systems. They keep the fight moving forward. S1 has made many improvements in the awards process, tracking Soldiers on R&R leave, daily perstats, you name it they are tracking it. Of note, SPC Jeremy Springer had an inspection of the TF Mail Room and he was the first Soldier
on Shindand to receive all Commendable scores in a 25 item inspection for mail rooms. He was complemented on having the cleanest and best Mail Room on Shindand. Outstanding job! S2 is continuing to battle track the enemy and also take care of our own Soldiers when it comes to updating ISOPREPS, etc. We have had SPC Williams from Brigade come to help out the S2 section for about three weeks and will be leaving us shortly. I have presented her with a „Phantom Knight‟ coin and thanked her for her service to us. S4 section is continuing to help us try to order things we still need and to get us furniture for projects like our MWR and coffee house inside of the TF Spearhead compound. On a sad note, CPT Steve Zehner will be leaving us soon to head to BDE S4 and he is replaced by CPT Justin Horsfall!
Congratulations Anniversaries July SPC & Mrs. Day SPC & Mrs. Lozano Promotion Board SPC (P) Stark (Jul) SPC (P) Boon (Jul) S6 is continuing steady state operations, continually updating radios and computers and trying to make sure AFN is working to keep everyone happy! The Air Traffic Control (ATC) section is becoming more apparent in our company as we take them under our wing! You will notice some of their names to the right under promotions and birthdays. These guys control the airfield here at Shindand Airbase. They communicate to the Pilots and also have been working on Precision Approaches with the pilots. Definitely an asset to have! The Medics continue to provide help when appropriate. I personally had the privilege to get an Anthrax shot by none other than yours truly, SPC (P) Guerra. I think he liked that too much. SSG Jong has been doing a great job as a medic and with his additional duties as the Motor Pool NCOIC. Supply is still providing everyone with Class I (goodies and drinks) and ordering all the Soldiers ADO. Below is a picture of a team building exercise to put up Supply‟s new tent. As you can see, there is never a dull moment here. Always something to do or something to plan for! We continue to look for your mail and packages as it definitely keeps the morale up! Until next issue… CPT Hildebrand Phantom Knight 6
SPC (P) Guerra (Jul) SPC Green (Aug) Promotions SGT Pruitt SGT Calderon SSG Acree Babies July Adrianna Gisselle Silva William Ethan Sybert
Birthdays July SPC Pruitt 1LT Shannon PFC Nantell SPC Shannon 2LT Rogers W01 Jackson SFC Adams SGT Calderon August MSG Dossett Chaplain (CPT) Moler SPC Villanueva SGT Kragie SPC Arechiga SSG Jong SPC Warren, J SGT Wood SPC Andrade Prayer List SGT Peli SSG Mathis CPT Garberich
C Co. Attack 4-227 “Snake eyes”
“IT‟S LASAGNA DAY AGAIN!”
Warm Welcomes & “Tearful” Goodbyes
Creativity finds its way into the strangest of places. For example, we typically measure time in the standard ways while we are back home with our families by the number of games left in preseason football, weekends left until school starts again, or when the “Seasonal” Aisle at Walmart shifts from plastic shovels and buckets, to pencils, pens and trapper keepers, followed closely by Halloween candy. Here at Shindand Airbase everyday is Monday! So, in an effort to keep track of time in some logical fashion, we look to the Menu at our friendly chow hall. 1 month of time roughly equates to two Lasagna Dinners, accompanied by an overly garlic‟ed roll, and an egg roll for no particular reason. However we keep track of time, the Snake Eyes have settled into a routine. “Good units do routine things routinely,” launch, recover, launch, maintenance, repeat. Some Snakes are already at home enjoying time with family and a choice beverage while R&R Leave becomes a reality for one Snake at a time. Hopefully this newsletter finds all of our families and loved ones making the time pass as quickly as possible in our own unique ways.
In August the Snake Eyes welcomed two new members to the Team at Shindand, Private First Class Justin Smith and Sergeant Kevin Wilson. PFC Smith, from Redding, California, joins us fresh out of Advanced Individual Training at Ft. Eustis, VA. Sergeant Kevin Wilson and his wife Sade from Texarkana have been at Ft. Hood since January. SGT Wilson immediately attended several critical schools to assist the company in day to day operations outside of his primary function as a 15R AH-64D Repairman. SGT Wilson was deployed just recently with Delta Company 2159th ARB out Illesheim, Germany. Both Soldiers are outstanding additions to the Team and are the future of the Snake Eyes. Unfortunately, with the introduction of new Snakes we were forced to say goodbye to Captain Matt Hayden, Snake Eyes 26. Matt joined the Snake Eyes in the initial months of OIF 09-10 and is one of the few officers who has managed to avoid Battalion Staff with amazing alacrity. Matt has served the Snake Eyes under three different Company Commanders, three different First Sergeants, and two deployments.
Matt was selected to continue on with Task Force Spearhead as an invaluable force multiplier on the Operations Staff synchronizing our difficult mission set as a liason with our Coalition Partners. I have no doubt that Matt with make a significant impact on Attack Weapons Team/ Assault Operations in the coming months. A heartfelt “Thank You” to his wife Lauren and his children Alexis, Devlin, and Xyler for their support of the Company FRG, as well as the late nights/ early mornings Matt spent with the Company and away from his beautiful family.
-Snake Eyes helping CPT Hayden wipe away snot bubbles and tears after a his last flight as Snake Eyes 26
-SPC Sutter & SPC Nieves representing the great state of AZ As always please feel free to contact me with any issues or concerns. Your Soldiers are the best in the Task Force and prove that resolve on a daily basis. -SNAKE EYES 06
-Snakes on a Mission -Photos Courtesy of the “Apache Surgeon” & resident lens wiz
CW3 Luttrell & PVT Rodriguez
C Co 3-227 Ghostriders Greetings GhostRider families from windy Shindand Airbase!!! The past couple of months have found the GhostRider team busy with missions and maintenance. On August 15th, I assumed the guidon from CPT Justin Horsfall and took command of the GhostRiders. Thank you Justin and Amy for the sacrifices made and the leadership shown to the GhostRider team over the past year. Good luck to both of you as you move on to the next step in your career and the exciting life as an Army Officer! You will both be missed. My wife Laura and I are excited to join the family, and I am proud to lead the GhostRiders. Our Company Facebook page is a consistent source of information for Soldiers and families “C Co. Ghostriders, 3227 AHB, TF Spearhead”. I see it used daily as an instant medium to communicate with home. CW2 Bryan Lee has invested a lot of time into our company website “ghostridercav.com”. Check it regularly for the newest installments of GhostRider TV. GHOSTRIDERS !!! “GhostRider 06”
DAY-TO-DAY Living conditions at Shindand have progressively become better throughout the past couple of months. Our entire team has made a significant monetary investment in the newly opened “Green Beans” coffee shop. Our company area has also seen drastic changes and improvements. On August 20th, we christened our new maintenance office, Instructor Pilot Office, and Safety Office.
MISSION The GhostRiders continue to provide phenomenal Blackhawk and Chinook support to all of our customers in Western Afghanistan. The flying is challenging but the mission is exciting. Our team has provided support to numerous American and Coalition allies including Italian, Slovenian, and Lithuanian militaries. The Chinook platoon, led by CPT Phil Leathead and SFC Lewis has proven to be the workhorse of the Task Force and is directly responsible for the continued successful operation of the numerous outlying bases that they resupply. Our MEDEVAC mission continues to be a success, with incredible response time transporting our injured comrades
GHOSTRIDER QUOTE OF THE MONTH “We are not an AWT (Attack Weapons Team). We are 2xUH-60s, but we’re some bad dudes.” - CW2 Evens transmits to ground forces that were engaged in a fire-fight.
from the battlefield. As the only Blackhawk and Chinook unit resident in Western Afghanistan, the GhostRiders are making significant contributions to the country’s ongoing stability. The impact we are making here will undoubtedly affect the success of the Operation Enduring Freedom mission for many years to come.
D Co. Roughnecks
AND THE WEATHER BEGINS TO CHANGE Greetings to the Roughneck family! August is finally
Soldiers from the Armament section helped the Snake
behind us, and we’ve seen some significant changes
Eyes keep aircraft running and armed for 11 days all
throughout the month. The daily wind storms have
while enjoying some rougher living than we have here at
started to abate, and you can already feel the chill in the
“home.” SSG Roman, SGT Spivey, and PFC Morzenti also
air at night as the wind blows in from the north. It also
travelled to FOB Qal-E-Naw for a mission to replace tip-
marked the first month that we started sending Soldiers
caps on an aircraft’s main rotor system.
home for R+R. The Task Force continues to fly aggressively, and air-
We said farewell to two outstanding NCOs who returned home to ETS. SGT Perez and CPL Clifford both
craft continue to require our constant attention. Just as
provided expert knowledge of their respective airframes
we catch our breath, a new airframe will arrive in our
and were enthusiastic leaders. We wish both of them and
hangars for some TLC from our maintainers and back
their families great success in their future endeavors.
shop personnel. Maintenance platoon consolidated their area and built a brand new office in their hangar. With extra personnel around, significant cross-training on the different airframe types happens daily, and I’ll often see CH-47 and AH-64 maintainers working alongside the UH60 Soldiers to fix aircraft more efficiently. August also brought several trips for our Soldiers off FOB. SPC Alexander and SGT Oberholtzer travelled away from Shindand to support the Apache fleet as they conducted missions north of our airbase. Both
Thanks again to everyone at home; your constant support helps us accomplish great things here. We all look forward to being with you again soon, and I promise you’ll see more pictures on Facebook in the future! -Roughneck 06, CPT Beth Lachner
Welcome to the newest Roughnecks! Madison Michelle Burns - 19 Aug 7 lbs 3 oz, 19.25 inches Athena Marie Pincombe - 28 Aug 6 lbs 2 oz, 19.5 inches
SPC Clark and SGT Thomas smile before a company formation to award SPC Henscheid a long overdue Army Achievement Medal.
One of the challenges of dealing with constant wind: dust devils that swirl through the area. Little or big like this one, the grit everywhere is rarely appreciated.
PV2 Bryan Rodriguez troubleshooting an Apache.
E Co. REGULATORS GREETINGS FROM SHINDAND AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN! The Distribution Platoon is a unique entity. They are conducting operations in three different locations. They are a junior team, in that half of them are deployed for the first time. Despite the conditions and the lack of experience, they are adapting really well to the environment and don't stop until the mission is completed successfully. Hello friends and family of the Regulators from Shindand Air Base, Afghanistan. It‟s been three months since the Regulators hit the ground and took over the mission. Its been quite challenging but the Regulators have done such a great job, making any task look easy. From Ground Maintenance, Fuel, Ammo and Food Service operations to regular everyday missions, the Regulators have excelled in every task. The Soldiers from Headquarter Platoon are not the exception. SGT Zastrow, the Orderly room‟s NCOIC, along with SPC Frank and PV2 Jackson have done a tremendous job at ensuring that Soldier‟s administrative requirements such as finances, promotions, awards, and personnel records are in order. “I believe that Soldiers will be more willing to perform if they know that we take care of them” SGT Zastrow says. SSG Gomez and SGT Evangelista, our Supply personnel have been working around the clock to get their hands on whatever they can to make the Soldiers‟ lives more comfortable. Our Food Service Soldiers under the supervision of SSG Rivers, have been extremely busy working side by side with US Civilians and Foreign Nationals to ensure that personnel assigned to or in-transit at FOB Shindand don‟t go hungry. They have worked together in order to open a new 24-hour soup and sandwich bar, a much appreciated service to our war fighters.
It isn‟t all play for the Distribution Platoon. SSG Smith states the importance of our presence here the best: “It is gratifying to be able to keep the force moving and helping the ground guys complete their mission.” The work here is also much different for veterans like SGT Cravens, who states, “Our mission here is much bigger, and we are dealing with civilian contractors as well as coalition forces which makes things much different this time around.”
Another important player for this operation is SGT Mejia, who has been busy conducting Technical Inspections and maintaining Quality Assurance/Quality Control for all the vehicles. The PLL section has also been busy inputting vehicle data into the SAMS-1E system for over 100 pieces of equipment. They are also conducting daily inventories of Bench Stock and Shop Stock spare parts as well as the receipt and processing of parts valued in excess of $50,000. Their effort facilitates and supports the mechanics which leads to better work production. Change is the one constant in the Army and the Regulators have adapted and overcome every change or challenge presented to them.
Of course, all of this hard work and effort is done with the hardest part of a deployment always being, missing the family and the ordinary routine back home. We always keep our friends and families in mind and alThe morale of the Soldiers of the ways thank them for their love, enMaintenance Platoon remains high as couragement and support during our they continue to work hard while per- deployment. forming all assigned missions in a safe and professional manner. They are vowing to not slow down until all vehicles assigned to our Task Force -Regulator 06: CPT Nieves, Juan are Fully Mission Capable. The personnel responsible for ensuring that -Regulator 09: 1SG Reid, Thomas work is being done, as well as the overall operation of the TF Spearhead Motor Pool are the Soldiers of the Maintenance Control section and Prescribed Load Listing section under the supervision of CW2 Rosario, the BN Maintenance Officer. They have been working hard to establish Preventative Maintenance throughout the Battalion. SFC Bowers, the Battalion Motor Sergeant stated that “a strong emphasis on command maintenance will be the key to maintaining mission readiness.”
Quote of the Month “Things turn out the best of the people who make the best of the way things turn out” John Wooden Congratulations Soldier of the Month July SPC Lee August SPC Nededog Promotion Board SPC Kramer (July) Reenlistment SSG Rideaux Babies July Laila Marie Nieves Jordan Frazier August Emma Kate Harper Nakaima Rose Finn Ethan Harley Sturgill Navaeh Kim Gaines Jordan Renea Jones Birthdays July 2LT Vickers SPC Ward SGT Cowperthwaite SPC Mendoza PV2 St. Claire SGT Singmanichanh PV2 Jackson August SGT Mejia CPT Nieves SFC Bowers SPC Krech PFC Justice PFC Green 1LT Bynum
PFC Wietrick SPC Bennett
F Co. 1-126 Chaos
Month 9 of the MEDEVAC Deployment is upon us. It is been an interesting and rewarding deployment to date. F Company has never faltered in its mission to provide the best MEDEVAC care to all Soldiers in the western frontier of Afghanistan. We have been called upon over 400 times to provide critical care and emergency transport to Soldiers, US Civilians, and local nationals. Our Soldiers, although they are tired and emotionally spent, still find the intestinal fortitude and personal courage to remain dedicated and focused to their mission thus ensuring when the call comes they are ready. I am truly proud of the caliber of professionalism and commitment that these Soldiers display on a daily basis. We have completed our official patch ceremony and now are fully integrated into the Spearhead Family. We are proud to stand in the trenches with the steadfast Troopers of Task Force Spearhead. â€œGarry Owenâ€? SHINDAND EVENT There was a small stress relief provided for the Soldiers of Shindand. Firebase Thomas hosted a 5Kish MUD RUN. This was an excellent opportunity for Soldiers to decompress and unwind. It took great coordination and effort for this event to happen. All who were brave enough to partake in this adventure, thoroughly enjoyed themselves and we all look forward to the next one. tality) Chaos 06, LTC Paul Peltier Chaos 07, 1SG Todd Jerdee
(if you look close, you may see SA9 enjoying the MEDEVAC hospi-