Volume 3, Issue 3 31 March 2012
TASK FORCE LOBOS Task Force Lobos, Regional Command-North, Afghanistan
Task Force Commander With just weeks left in theater, Task Force Lobos continues to cement its reputation as the premier Aviation Task Force in Afghanistan. On a daily basis, I receive laudatory comments from our passengers, supported ground forces, ISAF partners, and higher commands commending our Soldiers for their professionalism and dedication. Whether conducting combat missions in the skies above Regional Command-North or the around-the-clock efforts of our aviation support companies to keep the Task
Wolfpack Soldiers receive awards!
MG Allyn, our Division Commander made a surprise visit to say thanks to all our Soldiers and encourage everyone to Finish Strong! He was able to present awards & hand out coins to well deserving LOBOS. Also Pegasus 6 was able to present LT Jeffers our S6 with his first combat patch—what a way to earn your first combat patch from the Commanding General himself! Our Soldiers cannot wait to come home to our great families and we thank you everyday for never ending support and love—thanks! LOBO6
Force functioning, the Lobos have set the standard of excellence and discipline in the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade. We recently had retired Colonel Bruce Crandall, Medal of Honor recipient from the famed Ia Drang battle during Vietnam and memorialized in the movie ”We were Soldiers Once and Young” come visit our Soldiers in Afghanistan. He was able to fly in our UH60 Blackhawk and see the battlefield and spend time with our troops. See the Dustoff article for a great picture with our Medevac Team.
After 10 months, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine brighter with every passing day. March marked an outstanding month for the Wolfpack family. Well deserved promotions, two reenlistment ceremonies, multiple award ceremonies, and the strong individual performances of each member of the
Company combined to make this month both memorable and successful. SGT Santos and SGT McGhee were both promoted to the rank of SSG, and SPC Diaz earned promotion to SGT. Also, our hard charging Company XO, 2LT Daniell advanced to 1LT. These promotions remind us of all the great things our Soldiers do down range. Additionally, the Army selected SSG Carney for promotion to SFC, and we look forward to his pinning ceremony in the coming months. CPT Beckwith, SGT Phillips and PFC Burlaza all received the Army
Achievement Medal for their individual performances. Finally, the Wolfpack welcomed 2LT Jeffers to the Wolfpack family. He will be taking over duties as our Task Force S-6 OIC. With great anticipation we look forward to joining everyone on the parade field upon our return. No deployment could ever be called easy, but with all of your emails, packages, letters, and phone calls, the Company’s morale has remained positive and upbeat. Thank you to all of our friends, family, and outstanding FRG team back home. See you soon!
Vultures As another month passes, the Vultures enter the final stretch of their deployment in Northern Afghanistan. With the month of March behind us, we have already sent the first set of Vultures back to Fort Hood. The Vultures continue to execute many high visibility missions, including transporting the RC-North Commander, the RC-East Commander, and many heads of state and foreign ambassadors. This month’s highlight for VIPs was Medal of Honor recipient COL (ret.) Bruce Crandall, a former 1st Cavalry Division aviator during the Vietnam War. His words of wisdom, insight, and sense of humor lifted spirits and forged a bond between Soldiers past and present. One of the biggest events of the month was the Alpha Company Change of Command. The end of the month saw CPT Espinoza relinquish command to CPT Edwards. It was yet an-
Werewolves With month ten completed and only two remaining, the Werewolves can see the end of this deployment rapidly approaching. The Unit Movement Officer, CW2 Cox, has done an excellent job organizing all of the equipment and containers for movement to ensure all items brought to Afghanistan make it back to Fort Hood in an orderly fashion. Adding to the reality that our deployment is ending, CW2 Lucas, CW2 Lewis, and SPC Mills have returned to Texas to prepare for the arrival of the rest of the Company in May. March weather has kept us on our toes; from one day to the next, it has surprised us with warm and sunny mornings followed by cold, windy, and sometimes snowy afternoons and nights. Despite the seemingly unpredictable
Blackcats The days continue to pass quickly, and the end of March marks the completion of our 10th month in combat. With only 60 days remaining, the Company continues to lean forward in its missions throughout Regional Command-North. As we patiently await the arrival of our replacements from 12th CAB, we continue to plan the upcoming transition. Once the new unit arrives, we will begin the Relief in Place, a process that will enable 12th CAB to assume the thorough planning and safe execution of operations in our absence. In the beginning of March, CPT Jeter was nominated for a Pilot in Com-
TASK FORCE LOBOS other bittersweet day for the Vultures, who were sad to see CPT Espinoza depart the Company, but also incredibly excited to welcome our new commander to the Vulture family. CPT Edwards is already hard at work and committed to bringing each and every Vulture back safely to their loved ones. In addition to CPT Espinoza, SSG Loredo and SPC Cross returned to Fort Hood this month, a sign that our time in Afghanistan is nearing a close. The first flight of our 12th CAB counterparts will be arriving in Afghanistan shortly; already, we’ve planned and executed weather, our Aircraft Maintainers have not faltered. These outstanding Soldiers and Maintenance Test Pilots keep the fleet capable to complete 100% of our mission. Speaking of outstanding Soldiers, SGT Resmondo and SGT Satack joined the NCO ranks this month with their promotions to Sergeant. These two NCOs have been wearing their new ranks with pride and earning the respect of their Soldiers. We are all very proud of their hard work and dedication to the team. We also received a visit from MG Allyn, the 1st Cavalry Division Commander, who presented several of our Soldiers with Air Medal earned during this deployment. Toward the end of March, the Werewolves bid farewell to 1SG Groutage after serving as Company First Sergeant for more than two years. 1SG Groutage has been a vital asset in the functioning of the Company and will always be a part of the Were-
mand Evaluation, a major milestone in his aviation career. This month we also congratulated SSG Bonilla and SSG Fritts on their promotions to SFC. The Company also
Pilots and crew chiefs receiving Air Medals
significant equipment redeployment, and will continue redeploying our Soldiers as 12th CAB assumes its mission. The Vultures look forward to a busy spring of flying, and a quick return home in a few months.
SPC Newbold reenlists with CPT Tank. wolf family. We were happy to welcome 1SG Brown as the new First Sergeant. 1SG Brown hit the ground running and is ready to support CPT Moore in leading Alpha Assault Company to excellence.
1SGs Change of Responsibility
congratulated SSG Bonilla on his reenlistment, as well as the advancement of CW2 Wells to CW3. In the weeks ahead, we look forward to the opportunity to present combat awards and service awards earned throughout the deployment. The Blackcats reunited three Soldiers with their Families as members of the Task Force’s first flight of heroes to return to Fort Hood. After a well deserved break, these individuals will help prepare for the arrival of the rest of the Blackcats in May. Another big step toward home, the Blackcats will soon assign two Soldiers to escort aircraft back to the United States on large Air Force transport planes. Throughout it all, we thank our constant team of supporters for their efforts enabling our success in Afghanistan.
Volume 3, Issue 3
Reapers Greetings once again from the Reapers in Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan. The change of the season brought with it drastic, yet welcome, changes to the weather here at Camp Marmal. The warmer temperatures and calmer winds have increased our flight hours in the recent weeks and permitted our aviators to conduct more missions in Regional Command-North. During this busier schedule, B Attack has continued to successfully execute missions and set the standard for aviation operations within the Task Force. Aside from the daily reconnaissance and security detail, all Reapers recently visited the firing range to shoot their assigned weapons. As expected, everyone successfully qualified. Having had the final Reaper return from R&R, our Soldiers sense that the light at the end of the tunnel is brighter than ever. As we grow
Witchdoctors Greetings from the Soldiers of Charlie Company. The Witchdoctors continue to provide lifesaving MEDEVAC coverage across RCNorth, and continue to conduct critical integration training with allied NATO forces. This month alone we trained over 200 allied NATO forces on our capabilities and safe operation in and around the aircraft during a mission, and conducted over 25 lifesaving evacuations. We also experienced the final lingering of winter followed by the abrupt change to the warmers temperatures of spring. The entire team feels relief at the coming of summer and a return to the temperatures we experienced at the beginning of our deployment; this is yet another sign that our redeployment is right around the
Outlaws As Delta Company approaches the end of this tour, we can look back at the year to reveal the importance of our mission. We have had triumphs such as enabling the launch of aircraft for high profile air assaults and have come together as a team to execute aircraft recoveries that ensured that each aircraft and crew returned to home station. Your Soldiers have all performed admirably and will soon return to Fort Hood with their heads held high with the knowledge that they have successfully accomplished their mission. We continue to focus on our work here in Afghanistan while planning to transition the mission to the capable hands of 12th CAB. As we continue packing containers in preparation for our redeployment operations, we have the pleasure of continuing to promote, re-enlist, and recognize our deserving Soldiers. We performed re-enlistments for SSG Delgado, SSG
nearer to redeploying, the duties and tasks required to get the company back to Fort Hood with all of our property have certainly increased. The excitement to pass the torch to the incoming unit motivated our teams to work even harder as a team to accomplish these difficult tasks. Three Reapers recently departed Camp Marmal on their way back to Fort Hood. SFC Walp, SPC Conway, and SPC Currier will assist the Rear Detachment in preparations for the companyâ€™s reception at Fort Hood. They will focus on establishing a suitable work area for the Company so that we can continue operations as soon as we arrive. Special thanks to all of the volunteers who will undoubtedly participate in planning and executing welcome home ceremonies for returning Soldiers, as well as preparing bar- SPC Robert Lopez hails from Harlington, TX. racks rooms for our junior Soldiers.
corner. This month the Company enjoyed a fantastic visit by COL (Ret.) Bruce Crandall, a Medal of Honor recipient. He is a legendary figure in Army Aviation and is famous for having flown Vietnamâ€™s infamous Ia Drang Valley during the mission depicted in the movie We Were Soldiers. As a father of the Air Cavalry, he is a tremendous role model for our Soldiers and his heroic actions embody the MEDEVAC ethos. In closing, thank you all for everything you continue to do for us from across the globe. Your unwavering support is paramount in getting us through this final push while helping us keep our heads in the game so that we may return to you safe and sound. Mitchell, SSG Pecic, SSG Phillips, SSG Pampell, SSG Samansky, SGT Burton, SGT McDonald, SGT Masteller and SPC Kelly. These Soldiers have all distinguished themselves over the past year and have chosen to remain in the Army despite the demands of deployment, an action that shows their individual devotion to our nation. Also, SPC Kelly was awarded the German Marksmanship Badge while participating in a joint range with our coalition partners. End of Tour awards are streaming in and we look forward to presenting them to our Soldiers prior to their departure from Af-
Dustoff with COL Crandall, Medal of Honor recipient
ghanistan. While these medals may seem like minor accessories to most Americans, our Soldiers are tremendously proud of the hard work and dedication they represent, and we are proud to present them to the heroes among us in Afghanistan.
1SG Wagner, SFC Meredith, SSG Delgado
On April 15, CPT Wallace will assume command of Delta Company. As the Company bids farewell to CPT Mulder, we know that the Outlaws will continue to provide the highest quality aviation maintenance capabilities to Task Force Lobos. As always, we thank all who have volunteered to support events with the FRG and thank you for your continuous support of our mission.
March was an eventful month for the Renegades. We began the month by welcoming our new Commander, CPT Harelimana, to
Ravens The Ravens remain heavily engaged in redeployment operations at all four operating sites. The Soldiers have been moving and preparing equipment and are working hard for the eventual movement back home. Two of our Soldiers, SGT Tate and SPC Penquite, have already returned to Fort Hood to prepare for the reception of the rest of the Company in May. Our Division Commander, MG Allyn, presented End of Tour Awards to these deserving individuals before they departed Camp Marmal. SSG Ramos and SPC Taylor also received Coins of Excellence from the Division Commander in recognition of their tireless efforts throughout the past months. Our controllers at Mazar-e-Shariff were recognized
Rear Guard The Rear Guard has been aggressively preparing for the arrival of our deployed Lobo family. Our detachment has improved many of our local facilities by providing much needed repairs such as painting, lighting, and grounds keeping. In addition to repairs, our team has begun planning and rehearsing the reception of the Lobos Team. Careful thought and consideration has been placed into the reception of the Lobos Family, including planning welcome home ceremonies and scheduling reintegration training. Our Rear Guard will be staffing key positions during redeployment to provide a fitting reception to our returning Com-
the Renegade family! We are excited to have him, and look forward to getting to know him during his tenure with us. This is an extremely exciting time everyone in Maintenance Platoon! Our equipment is packed and being prepared for customs inspections and movement to Fort Hood. We also conducted a weapons ranges, and Maintenance Platoon proved to be the backbone of the Task Force’s effort to increase combat readiness through weapons qualification. This was a four-day event and could not have been successful without the work of the Renegades. Congratulations to newly promoted SGT Anderson! For the past month, the Distribution platoon issued over 15,000 gallons of JP-8, received over 20,000 gals of JP-8 and processed numerous amounts of ammunition to keep up
with the Lobos’ mission. New platoon offices are currently under construction and should be completed by the end of April. The platoon also focused on conducting safety classes to prepare for reintegration and the completion of our mission in Afghanistan. Congratulations to newly promoted PFC Kidwiler and PFC Giles! Headquarters Platoon did a terrific job executing the Change of Command ceremony by providing steaks, chicken, pasta salad, drinks, and dessert for well over 100 people. Numerous positive comments were received for the hardworking men and women who made the ceremony such a success. Congratulations to newly promoted PFC Smith, PFC Bailey, SPC Rutherford, and SPC Jimenez!
by the German Senior Air Traffic Controller for their accomplishments, dedication, and commitment during their service at the MES Control Tower. The Soldiers received beautiful plaques from their German counterparts to acknowledge their accomplishments and remind them of the camaraderie we all share with the German Army. This month we finished weapons qualification at all sites, with SPC Heule from Meyamanah earning a perfect 40 out of 40 score and designation as an expert. The Meyamanah team also conducted refresher training for sling load operations by preparing one of its trucks for transport back to MeS underneath one of our Blackhawk Helicopters. With the winter months behind us and the coming transfer of authority in sight, our team expects to be busier than ever. We are already noticing
an increase in air traffic at each of our controlled airfields as more consistent weather enables expanded aviation operations in the area. All of this signifies the approaching end of our deployment and the quickly approaching reunion with our families.
rades. We recently received our first flight of Soldiers from downrange, and staged an outstanding welcome home ceremony to mark this key milestone of the deployment.
Fox Company .Team Kunduz with their German Combat Controllers (Left to Right – SSG Mcmahon, SPC Gossard, SPC Rossi, Hanz [German CCT], Fritz [German CCT], SPC Robbins, SPC Elliot)
In addition to preparation for the reception of Task Force Lobos, we have also been actively engaged in supporting the Fort Hood community by sending a team of Soldiers to read books to students at our adopted school, Ovetta Culp Hobby Elementary. Looking to the future, we are making preparations to support the upcoming Ovetta Culp Hobby field day with static displays, and will have personnel assisting the school as it prepares to close for summer vacation. Our Rear Guard team has continued to provide outstanding support in the community and continues to uphold the Lobos’ reputation for the most outstanding volunteer service in our Brigade.