• December 27, 2014

Aviation unit cases colors, heading to Afghanistan

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Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2014 4:30 am

Standing beside his spouse Friday, Sgt. 1st Class David Toribio said he felt absolutely ready for his battalion’s nine-month mission in Afghanistan.

As one of about 300 soldiers deploying with 1st “Attack” Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, the component repair supervisor said training in dusty environments and aerial gunnery at Fort Hood helped him feel secure.

“My duties are mainly to supervise and make sure soldiers perform proper maintenance and make sure the aircraft is mission ready,” Toribio said, who was ramping up for his fourth deployment and first to Afghanistan.

To symbolize its departure from Fort Hood, the battalion command team cased the unit’s colors during a ceremony Friday at the unit’s hangar.

The unit will use Apaches, Black Hawks and medevac aircraft to Regional Command North to provide air support for ground troops.

While deployed, the Attack Battalion has two goals, said its commander, Lt. Col. Cain Baker — to take care of each other, and to win.

“The first goal goes unsaid,” Baker said. “Winning requires constant discipline, professionalism, character and most importantly, the passion to end your last day in Afghanistan just like you started the first one. Winning isn’t how many hours we fly or triggers we pull, but the reputation we leave behind.”

This is the sixth deployment since 2002 for the battalion, said Col. Cory A. Mendenhall, brigade commander.

“You will be asked to execute your mission with the utmost precision and professionalism,” he said.

“Your ability to work through adversity as a team will be tested every day and success will be measured in your readiness to deliver lethal fires to destroy the enemy in a moments notice. Always be ready.”

To be prepared to operate in the harsh weather and sand of Afghanistan, the battalion conducted training in similar environments such at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., and Fort Bliss.

“Part of the (training) at NTC was to go out and conduct dust landings,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Steve Napoli. Pilots getting this sort of training also allowed maintenance crews the real-life training they need, he added.

After four deployments to Iraq, starting with the invasion in 2002, and now going to Afghanistan for a second time rounds out the battalion’s work over the past dozen years, Baker said.

“It’s another bookend here that adds to this battalion’s legacy,” he said.

Baker also took time to thank the families for their sacrifice while their soldier is deployed. “Words at this point probably won’t ease your pain, but I will tell you that your troopers are heroes. They are moving forward to answer a call that is bigger than themselves.”

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