Volume 1, Issue 4 Special points of interest: SPC Gordon Tribute p.3-4 Comanche Change of Command p 13 Squadron Family Events, p. 18
Inside this issue: HHT
BLACKHAWK COMMAND UPDATE The Changing Seasons
It’s been an incredible month for the BlackHawks in Kandahar City! The Squadron is firmly established in its new role as the Battle Space Owner for the entire city and has adjusted the tempo to meet the incredible progress our AUP Partners have displayed as the lead in Kandahar City for security. Counter-intuitively, ‘doing less’ at this point in our deployment in terms of direct partnership with the Afghan Uniform Police… is actually ‘accomplishing more’. Why? Well, as I’ve talked before, we’ve moved from ‘Giving them the Fish’ support, to ‘Teaching them to Fish’ - enable, to now ‘Watching them fish… with recommendations’ -overwatch. This means they have the capacity, they have the will, but we, as a coalition, need to take the training wheels off and let them ride. And that’s exactly what we’ve been doing… and the results have been fascinating! Even as we slowly change our posture in Kandahar City, we’ve taken advantage of the opportunity to re-blue ourselves in the basics of shoot, move, communicate, and sustain in the complex environment of Afghanistan. This ‘reblue’ of our basic skills and capabilities affords the Lancer Brigade a flexible force capable of conducting operations on a short notice when the time to plan is short. The Command Sergeant Major and I have watched all our Platoons re-learn, or learn for the first time, some of the fundamentals that make good Cavalry formations great. Continued on next page..
LTC Patrick Michaelis HAWK 6
CSM Daniel Neary HAWK 7
Over the past month, there has been lots of coverage over the increasing threat of Green-on-Blue attacks. Green-on-Blue is roughly defined as one of our partners, or a perceived partner, attacking our Troopers. The Squadron has unfortunately experienced this once already early in our deployment and remains hypersensitive to the indicators and warnings. As the CSM and I have stated often, ‘Secure yourself first’ (dominate your terrain) remains my number one enduring key task. We will remain vigilant, but not let the threat impede the progress our Afghan partners have made. Finally, the seasons are changing here in Kandahar City. We bid thanks to Captain Michael Kelly for his excellent service as the Commander of Comanche Troop, and say hello to Captain Clint Edwards as the new Comanche 6. The intense heat of the summer has evolved over the last month to cooler temperatures. It is a sign that we will soon be thinking about returning to our loved ones. We think about you often, and draw strength from families and friends! Keep us all in your thoughts as we march through these seasons of change.
Post Script written 15OCT12: The above was written about a week ago. This week we lost an amazing Trooper. SPC Brittany B. Gordon. Her grace, intelligence, and determination inspired those around her to incredible heights. Please keep SPC Gordon and her grieving family in your thoughts and prayers. We dedicate this month’s newsletter to her memory. --Hawk 6 & 7.
TRIBUTE TO SPC BRITTANY GORDON Soldiers, Families, and Friends of the 572nd MICO and Task Force Blackhawk, On 13 October 2012, Mojave Company and the Blackhawk Squadron lost one of its own. SPC Brittany B. Gordon lost her life while on a mission outside of Kandahar City. Also wounded in the attack was SPC Mark A. Schelling II who is currently in Germany and expected to make a full recovery. You could probably ask anyone here about SPC Gordon and if they even knew her or had heard of her, there would be nothing but overwhelming praise for how she was as an analyst and who she was as a person. Her skills as an analyst were unsurpassed; when the Company and the Brigade had to choose an analyst to send on the Torch Party to spearhead the analytical element into Afghanistan and set us up for success, SPC Gordon was chosen immediately without pause. She could brief, with maturity and confidence, Commanders and General Officers as though she had been doing it for years. She would make countless trips outside off of the FOB and to various locations to interact with other intelligence personnel and maneuver units to improve the intelligence being gathered on the battlefield. As a person, SPC Gordon was known for her humility, maturity, compassion, and smile. There was rarely a time when she was not smiling when you would see her and she would brighten a room when she was in it; she had strength about her that others would gravitate towards. At the age of 24, she was already on track for what would be an immensely successful career in the Army. She possessed the drive, intelligence, and potential found in any leader and the values and skills found in great Soldiers. While her passing has been difficult and emotional for the Soldiers and leaders here, we take heart in knowing that the time we had with SPC Gordon, while brief, has left an impact on so many lives. There are countless stories and memories of her to be shared and a model of a person that others can strive to follow. We will never forget the life of SPC Brittany Gordon. She will live on long in the memories we have of her and we will continue that legacy long after we return with honor from our deployment to Afghanistan. The Soldiers of Mojave remain strong and supportive of each other during this time and as they always have, and this will carry them through our final months in Afghanistan and into our redeployment home. We thank the Families and Friends of the Company and the Squadron for their overwhelming support during this difficult time. We also ask that you keep SPC Gordon’s Family and Friends in your thoughts and prayers and continue to support them during this difficult time. Sincerely, JOSHUA M. BAL CPT, MI Commanding
TRIBUTE TO SPC BRITTANY GORDON
HELL RIDER UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
I hope this update finds you all well and in high spirits. This marks yet another month down and another month closer to our troopers reuniting with all of you in the beautiful U S of A. Since the last update, we have welcomed the fall in Afghanistan with open arms. The mid-day heat has dropped from over 100 to about 90 and now it actually gets into the 50s at night. Also, we saw our first Afghan downpour that left huge puddles around camp and a much needed wash of our buildings. I expect more of these in the near future. Our troopers are working hard every day to accomplish the mission and never fail to impress me. A lot of the focus for the month of September was taking measures to reduce the insider threat and secure ourselves. We have increased our security on base, conducted some base defense drills, changed some of the established policies and procedures and started to conduct dismounted patrols around the camp to disrupt the enemy. We have some very motivated members of the Squadron staff hungry to get off the camp and visit our Afghan neighbors (see facebook photos). I am confident that we have the best security in the city. Today we received the first order that discusses some of the details on Redeployment. It has begun. Believe it or not there is a lot that goes into getting all our troopers and their equipment back to WA safe and sound. A lot of our preparations include getting our containers ready, inventorying our equipment, reducing the excess, and preparing initial flight manifests. We are all very excited that we are getting closer to that time. Also, we recently hosted the leaders of the incoming unit as they conducted their week long pre-deployment site survey. They all seem very excited to assume the mission and earnest to soak up what we have spent the last 6 months learning. We have also had a few hails and farewells in the Troop. 1LT Joseph Moeller of Arikara RED Platoon was selected to serve as the XO of Comanche troop. He did an outstanding job as the FTF platoon leader and I am certain he will do great things for Comanche. 1LT Sean Benjamin has arrived from Bear Troop and is doing great work as the new RED 1. Welcome to the team! Additionally, SFC Fuentes of the BSB is soon to depart to serve as the rear detachment reset manager. He was an incredible asset to the CRT here on CNS and will be greatly missed. We continue to use facebook as our primary means of communication. If you know anyone that has not seen it yet please direct them the link below. You can find photos from all our events there: http://www.facebook.com/HellRiderTroop I am extremely proud to be able to command this splendid outfit. Doing what 99.9% of Americans are unwilling or incapable of doing, you should all be very proud of your troopers. I appreciate the perseverance and patience you have all endured thus far. Please keep it up. Thank you for your continued support and I look forFRG Corner ward to meeting all of you upon our return! Hell Rider 6 CPT Tyler Patterson HELL FOLLOWS!
Contact the FRG: firstname.lastname@example.org
Walk to Afghanistan Miles: 7,270
HELL RIDER UPDATE
ARIKARA UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
Greetings from Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan (FOB Frontenac) to the families and friends of Arikara Troop and the Blackhawk Squadron! As the weather changes so does our mission and putting Afghan forces in the lead becomes our goal. With September now over and the Afghan forces proving more and more that they are ready to take over security, we continue to partner and train the ANSF to ensure they are ready for transition. During September the Troop spent half the month partnering with the ANSF and providing them with overwatch operations as they challenged themselves during a very difficult mission. Our Soldiers worked shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan National Police, Afghan Uniformed Police, and Secret Service for Afghanistan. All Arikara Troop Soldiers did an amazing job coaching, teaching, and mentoring their ANSF counterparts during this mission. As we look forward to the month of October we will welcome in the cold weather, and continue training our partners to become more proficient in Soldiering and policing tasks. We will continue to learn the ways of the Afghan culture and teach them a little about our culture as well. Maintaining a positive working relationship is something we take very seriously while partnering with our ANSF brothers. Red platoon operating out of CNS welcomed in 1LT Sean Benjamin as the new platoon leader taking on a very important mission in Kandahar City. 1LT Moeller has moved on to become the C Troop Executive Officer. We wish 1LT Moeller the best and we know he will do a fantastic job taking care of Comanche Troop. Arikara Troop will continue to serve honorably and safely under TF Steel as we move into a very important time in our deployment. Thanks for supporting us and all you do back at JBLM. -Arikara 6 To all of our friends and family of Arikara Troop and the Blackhawk Squadron, greetings from Shah Wali Kot, Afghanistan. The month of September has been one of great strides and extremely valuable lessons learned while partnering with a very competent Afghan National Army. It’s refreshing to see our Soldiers side by side with our partners and watching them learn and grow. This month we’ve seen SGT Skuse get promoted to SSG. His addition has brought another dimension to the mortar section and his training and experience are paying off daily for his section. SGT’s Baumiller, Gusta and Ouch are now promotable after having attended the September promotion board and will now wait to make points before pinning the rank of SSG. We promote based off potential and these young NCO’s have incredible drive and potential and are a great asset to our team. We continue to appreciate all that you do, and the sacrifices you have made in order to support us and our mission. Thank you to the FRG for our Arikara Troop sheet displaying words of encouragement and love. We wish you a Happy October and a safe Halloween celebration to come! We appreciate our FRG and all the leaders volunteering to keep our families informed. Thank you again for your unwavering support, and we wish you all the best back at home. Stay safe and enjoy the October season! -Arikara 7
CPT Anthony L. Williams Arikara 6
1SG Rennes G. Weimer Arikara 7 “HORNS UP FRONT!"
FRG Corner Contact the FRG: email@example.com Walk to Afghanistan Miles: 16,413
BEAR UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
One more month down! Bear Troop continues to make strides and progress in Kandahar City every day. The entire Troop has been busy patrolling, making improvements to our home here on ANCOP, and constantly training to maintain and improve our skills. Recently, both Red and Blue Platoons completed platoon live fire exercises at FOB Geko that saw them conducting mounted live fire from their vehicles and clearing a mock village consisting of several buildings with a mixture of enemy and civilian targets. Both platoons performed excellently and the training was well received. Not to be outdone, the Mortar Platoon went up to COP Terra Nova and conducted their own live fire training, firing more rounds and missions than any other Troop in the Squadron. They were also the only ones to get "first round effects" during their training. 1SG Gentile went with them and even got to "hang" some mortar rounds himself. This month also sees another transition within the Troop. 1LT Clayton is saying goodbye as his time as a Platoon Leader is done. He is being replaced by 2LT Ryan Kelton. 2LT Kelton is an Infantry Officer commissioned from the United States Military Academy in 2011 where he majored in Environmental Engineering. 1LT Clayton will be moving on to HHT, where he will work in the head quarters in the S4 shop. We welcome 2LT Kelton and wish 1LT Clayton good luck and success as he moves on. Bear Troop has seen a lot of individual Troopers achieve exFRG Corner cellent, success, and recognition this month. First, SSG Cody, Red's Platoon Sergeant, received a much deserved promotion to SFC. The Contact the FRG: following Soldiers were promoted from PVT to PFC: PFC Cashaw, PFC Beartroop81@gmail.com Pigeon, PFC Mobley, PFC Ragland, and PFC Jensen. The following SolBear Troop FaceBook: www.facebook.com/ diers were promoted to SPC: SPC Lounsbury, SPC Ladore, and SPC beartroopfrg81 Benn. Additionally, PFC Manuel, SGT Mosher, and SPC Jorgensen a Bear Program: earned their drivers badges. SGT Small and SGT Guidice went to the AnAdopt opportunity to support a Bear Troop Soldier, selected board and were recommended for promotion to SSG. Finally, but at random, by writing letters definitely not least, CPL Wilson was awarded his Combat Infantryand sending packages. For more information, see the man's Badge. Congratulations to all of our Troopers and their hard Bear Troop FaceBook page work! This deployment has seen its share of challenges, but we con- (above), or contact the FRG. tinue to push onwards and continue to distinguish ourselves. HowWalk to Afghanistan Miles: 20,699 ever, we could not do that without all of your love and support. Keep up the good work back home! 5 months down! v/r, Terron Wharton CPT, AR Commanding
COMANCHE UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
Dear fellow Comanche Troops and families, we are midway through our deployment and have completed our transition to another area of operation within Kandahar City. We have continued to support and enable our Afghan counterparts in taking control of security within the city and they are doing great. Our partners continue all operations in the lead. By the time that you receive this newsletter LT Taylor and myself will be making our transition out of the Troop and CPT Edwards and LT Moeller will be taking the reins of commander and executive officer respectively. The FRG will be in control of Mrs. Rasmussen, Mrs. Garling, and Mrs. Edwards. CPT Edwards is coming from the Brigade staff and is an excellent leader, well qualified to command the troop. I know he will lead the Troop well. I must once again say I am grateful for all of the commitment to our families we have received from the rear detachment with Captain Schwartz and our Troop FRG. Lieutenant Taylor will be leaving the troop after eighteen months as the Troop executive officer . He has been an awesome officer, to see grow within the Troop has been rewarding. He will be moving on to the Squadron staff and will do an excellent job wherever he is posted. I wish him the best in all of his endeavors. As for my tenure here in Comanche ,I want to thank all of our families for building the team that we have. I am truly grateful for all of your efforts to make the Troop a strong support net for each other. I will never forget all that the Troop has done from field events at Yakima, to the excellent performance of our Troopers at the National Training Center, and the incredible impact we have had on the Kandahar City. I cannot thank our Troopers, NCO’s, and officers enough for all of their hard work and dedication during my tenure in the Troop. They have made my tenure as Commander remarkably special. Our Troopers in Comanche will always get the mission done through the Blackhawk standard. The NCO’s in Comanche are definitely the backbone of the Troop as all NCO’s are to the army. The NCO’s of the Troop are certainly the top notch of the Army. Lastly I must thank 1SG Petersen for being the best 1SG a commander could ever want. He will definitely be a top notch Sergeant Major one day and continue to mentor and train NCO’s and Soldiers.
COMANCHE UPDATE Comanche is a very close and strong team and I am especially proud of all that you do and will continue to do. I will continue to pray for our Troopers and request the awesome support that we have received from our families over this deployment. continues The one thing that I love so much about Comanche is that our Troopers will always do the right thing and as a leader you can’t ask for more than that. To the new team I wish you and the families of Comanche the best of luck. One Step Ahead! Michael J. Kelly CPT, AR
MOJAVE UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
Soldiers, Families, and Friends of the 572nd Military Intelligence Company. Our busiest month in Afghanistan has come and gone, bringing us that much closer to heading home. As you read this we are all in the ‘double digits’ now, meaning less than 100 days remain for almost everyone that is here. It is hard to believe that you will only be reading two more newsletters after this one before we head for home (a third and final one should be available in December). The temperatures have cooled quite a bit and while the days remain warm, the nights have a pleasant cool about them the often reminds me of late summer nights at home. It’s also a sign that summer here is over and “winter is coming”. In the next several days, the Company will welcome several Soldiers in the NCO Corps and also promote several NCOs to the next grade. These outstanding men and women have served admirably in their careers to this point and we certainly expect them to remain the most steadfast of professionals. Their contributions to the mission and to their Soldiers have helped produce outstanding leaders who care for the wellbeing of those around them. We are also working to include more pictures of Soldiers and the work they are doing here. While much of what many of them do prevents us from showing pictures, there are still countless images of your Soldiers daily lives at work and outside of it that we have captured in our time here. We will work to include what we can in the newsletter and for posting on the Company Facebook page. The month of October will feature a Halloween Fun Run here on Camp Nathan Smith. Details are still to come but it will again be organized by SSG Ginn and will take place on or about October 31 and runners will have the option of competing with or without costume. I would also like to take the time to thank the many Family and Friends of the Company who have stayed strong FRG Corner and supported our Soldiers during their months here. The end is in Contact the FRG: sight and we are all as excited as you are to come home and be re- firstname.lastname@example.org united once again. Your devotion to them during this time has paid MICO FaceBook Page: https://www.facebook.com/ off immensely and it gives me great pride that we have a strong pages/572-MICOFRG and Families who keep our Soldiers strong spiritually and men- FRG/206715606061075 tally. We appreciate all that you do, and look forward to closing the Walk to Afghanistan Miles: 37,260 year and the deployment out successfully. Total families participating: 33 JOSHUA M. BAL CPT, MI Commanding
REDHAWK UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
Greetings BlackHawk Family,
Rear Detachment CPT Stephen Schwartz Rear Detachment Commander (651) 246-2095 Stephen.Schwartz1@ us.army.mil SFC Kirk Alcorn Rear Detachment First Sergeant Kirk.Alcorn@us.army.mil (360) 701-9723 8-1 Cav Staff Duty (253) 966-8307* no longer answered 24/7, only regular business hours Brigade Staff Duty: 253-967-6443 (answered 24/7) Emergencies Sexual Assault Reporting/Victim Advocates 253-966-SAFE (7233) National Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Army Emergency Relief (AER): 253-976-9852
Itâ€™s October already, and we amazingly still see the sun here at JBLM. The kids have started school, and 1SG Alcorn and I would like to say congratulations because everyone has passed the half way mark. Wherever you are and whatever youâ€™ve been through these past five to six months, it has taken great strength and determination to get there. Take heart that you have a few short months left, and before you know it, your Soldier will be back. 1SG Alcorn and I remain committed to serving you until that time comes. We sincerely hope that each and every one of you are doing well, but if you find yourself needing help, please let us or the FRG know. For our local families, it is our greatest hope that we have given you a greater sense of family and help when you need it. . Please submit any questions you have to the FRSA at Laura.O.Meeks@us.army.mil or (253) 967-1493. Until next month, take care and please let us know if there is anything we can do for you. Sincerely, Redhawk 6 Stephen Schwartz CPT, MI Commanding
FAMILY READINESS UPDATE Volume 1, Issue 4
8-1 Cav Family Events for September 2012
Resource Roundup 8-1 Cav FaceBook Page www.facebook.com/8SQDN1CAV Out of Town Link http://www.emailmeform.com/ builder/form/0zt0Jf1ej80aapyD6Xc Virtual FRG (vFRG) www.armyfrg.org (For registration instructions, ask your FRG or the FRSA) Child and Youth Services www.jblmmwr.com/CYS 253-967-CYSS BDE Military Family Life Consultant Mrs. Alexandria Horton (253) 363-6973 2ndMFLC@gmail.com Madigan Child and Family Assistance Center (CAFAC) 253-968-4843 MAMC Annex, Bldg. 9923A Financial Readiness 253-967-1453
1) Are you or another family in 8-1 CAV concerned about gifts this holiday season? Please send the spouse’s name and reason for financial crisis to Laura.O.Meeks.email@example.com to refer them to Santa’s Castle for the chance to receive a free “shopping” day. Preference given to E4 and below. 2) Walk to Afghanistan Looking for a family activity you can do together? Why not exercise your way to Afghanistan? Ask your FRG leader or the FRSA if you would like a packet that explains the rules and helps you keep track of your miles. The FRG with the most miles wins the Golden Boot. Current totals: HHT: 7,270 Arikara: 16,413 Bear: 20,699 Comanche: 4,649 MICO: 37,260
Rear Detachment Mrs. Laura Meeks Family Readiness Support Assistant M-F, 8:30-5, and by appointment (253) 967-1493 Laura.O.Meeks@us.army.mil Chaplain CPT Barry Malone 253-651-3069 Staff Duty (253) 966-8307* Only answered during regular business hours BDE Staff Duty: 253-967-6443 (answered 24/7) Emergencies Sexual Assault Reporting/Victim Advocates 253-966-SAFE (7233) National Suicide Prevention 1-800-273-TALK (8255) Army Emergency Relief (AER): 253-976-9852
PUMPKIN PATCH TOWNHALL
CHAPPY’S CORNER Volume 1, Issue 4
As each Main Body pushed out from JBLM I read to them the words from Ecclesiastes 3:1 that said “there is a time for everything, a season for everything under the sun”. It goes on to say that there is a time for war and a time for peace. I told our Soldiers that this is our time for war, but like all seasons, this too will end. We are getting close to that ending now. Soon our replacements will be coming in and we will be conducting our RIP with them. Our connex will be packed, and before too long our first arrivals will be returning to Lewis. One of my favorite questions to ask as I rotate around the AO is ‘what are you going to do with your block leave’? You should see the way our Soldiers light up when they think about coming home and spending time with their loved ones. It never fails to bring about a smile. However, our Soldiers also know that the mission isn’t done yet. We may only have a few months left, but we all need to make sure we keep our heads in the game. The enemy isn’t going home. The enemy isn’t going away. I still believe that we have the best Squadron in the Army, and our mission over the next three months will continue to add to the heritage and honor that is our legacy. The season of war for us is almost at a close. Soon, we will be returning home and it will be a joyous reunion with those we love. However, we are all called to endure just a little longer. It will be here faster than you think. Blessings! Chaplain Rivers