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Deployed Fort Campbell soldiers celebrate holidays in Afghanistan

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation BrigadeKandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division’s 159th Combat Aviation Brigade participate in a Christmas Eve candlelight service on Mustang Ramp at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The 159th CAB has been deployed from Fort Campbell, KY, for nearly a year.

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 159th Combat Aviation Brigade participate in a Christmas Eve candlelight service on Mustang Ramp at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl, 159th CAB)

Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division's 159th Combat Aviation Brigade participate in a Christmas Eve candlelight service on Mustang Ramp at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl, 159th CAB)

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Massachusetts natives serve as Screaming Eagles

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionAfghanistan – Maj. Gen. James C. McConville, the commanding general of the 101st Airborne Division and a native of Quincy, MA, Maj. Brendan Cullinan and 1st Lt. Steven Rogers visit with the division’s 159th Combat Aviation Brigade in southern Afghanistan December 6th.

Cullinan is the executive officer of 7th Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, and a Scituate, MA, native, while Rogers is a pilot with the unit and hails from Weymouth, MA.

Maj. Gen. James C. McConville (center) Maj. Brendan Cullinan (right) and 1st Lt. Steven Rogers (left). (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

Maj. Gen. James C. McConville (center) Maj. Brendan Cullinan (right) and 1st Lt. Steven Rogers (left). (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

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Pilot’s pinnacle promotion bittersweet

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionKandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – For warrant officers, career progression is a little different – often a little slower – than the career progression of non-commissioned officers and commissioned officers. With only five ranks to progress through, they tend to spend a little more time at each rank.

When the aviation community’s newest chief warrant officer five, Kyle Hill, received his rank December 1st, he knew the promotion was bittersweet.

“Getting promoted to W5 is the pinnacle,” said Hill, the standardization instructor pilot for Task Force Wings (4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment) at Forward Operating Base Wolverine in southern Afghanistan. “I’ve reached the top rung, but it’s bittersweet, because I know it’s not going to last forever.”

Col. Todd Royar (left), the commander of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, promotes Tyler, Texas, native Kyle Hill to chief warrant officer five during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Wolverine, Afghanistan, Dec. 1st. (Courtesy Photo)

Col. Todd Royar (left), the commander of the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade, promotes Tyler, Texas, native Kyle Hill to chief warrant officer five during a ceremony at Forward Operating Base Wolverine, Afghanistan, Dec. 1st. (Courtesy Photo)

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Afghan National Civil Order Police patrol Kandahar

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation Brigade

Kandahar, Afghanistan – Members of the 2nd Afghan National Civil Order Police SWAT team and the Task Force Thunder Kandahar Pathfinder Detachment conduct a patrol September 4th. Presence patrols give the units an opportunity to interact with the local population and build a rapport with the people, while it also gives the ANCOP an opportunity to practice some of their basic operational techniques.

The SWAT team is considered to be one of the most elite of the Afghan Security Forces. Its members receive special weapons and tactics training that allows them to plan and participate in more complex or specialized missions.

Members of the 2nd Afghan National Civil Order Police SWAT team and the Task Force Thunder Kandahar Pathfinder Detachment conduct a patrol September 4th. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

Members of the 2nd Afghan National Civil Order Police SWAT team and the Task Force Thunder Kandahar Pathfinder Detachment conduct a patrol September 4th. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs)

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‘King of Battle’ steps back from the gunline

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation Brigade

Forward Operating Base Wolverine, Afghanistan – The closest a combat aviation brigade normally gets to artillery is sling-loading a gun from point a to point b. Likewise, the closest artillerymen normally come to aviation is when they call for close air support on the battlefield.

Despite the lack of howitzers, the fire support teams within Task Force Thunder (159th Combat Aviation Brigade) carry an important part of the brigade’s mission in Regional Command South.

“We work in conjunction with the [intel section] for targeting and developing effects on the battlefield,” said Staff Sgt. Joshua DeWitt, the fire support officer for Task Force Wings (4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment). “We manage and control fixed wing, (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) and indirect fire assets to support the unit.”

Staff Sgt. Joshua DeWitt, the fire support officer for Task Force Wings, calls to establish a restricted operating zone as he verifies grid coordinates for support from a mortar team at Forward Operating Base Wolverine July 27th. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

Staff Sgt. Joshua DeWitt, the fire support officer for Task Force Wings, calls to establish a restricted operating zone as he verifies grid coordinates for support from a mortar team at Forward Operating Base Wolverine July 27th. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

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Pathfinders, Surrie District Police take the fight to the enemy at BP Osman

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation Brigade

Battle Position Osman, Zabul Province, Afghanistan – The melody of a flute drifts over on the wind from the room in the compound their Afghan National Police partners call home. All of the men wear the evidence of days of enduring the sandblasts of southern Afghanistan’s summer winds.

In fighting positions around the compound, a few other Pathfinders and Afghans maintain a security watch, keeping a close eye out for any suspicious movement that could be a threat to the position, the villagers nearby or, more importantly, Forward Operating Base Wolverine, the group’s home base that sits just a few miles away.

Spc. Ryan Grace, a Pathfinder with Company F, Task Force Wings (4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment), pulls security at Battle Position Osman July 27th. IED emplacements and enemy attacks have significantly dropped in the area since the Pathfinders established the battle position nearly two months ago to increase security at Forward Operating Base Wolverine. (Photo by Sgt. Shanika Futrell)

Spc. Ryan Grace, a Pathfinder with Company F, Task Force Wings (4th Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment), pulls security at Battle Position Osman July 27th. IED emplacements and enemy attacks have significantly dropped in the area since the Pathfinders established the battle position nearly two months ago to increase security at Forward Operating Base Wolverine. (Photo by Sgt. Shanika Futrell)

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Making the grade: BSEP helps soldiers raise GT scores

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation Brigade

Forward Operating Base Wolverine, Afghanistan – With the Army tasked to cut soldiers, tens of thousands of many are facing limited options.

It’s getting harder for soldiers to obtain promotions, and many career fields are merging or eliminating job specialties. Soldiers who plan to progress in the Army have to take more initiative.

One way soldiers here are doing this is by participating in the Basic Skills Education Program classes to help them improve their general technical scores on the ASVAB.

The class focuses on math and English skills, explained 1st Lt. Qiong Garner, the executive officer for the Task Force Wings Forward Support Company and a math instructor for the class. These are the two areas evaluated by the GT score. «Read the rest of this article»

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Dust Landing

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

159th Combat Aviation BrigadeFort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionKandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – A UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter with the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade lands in Deh Gholaman village in southern Afghanistan to drop off humanitarian assistance supplies. The 159th CAB, part of the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, KY, is providing aviation support throughout Regional Command-South.

Pathfinders from the unit provided ground security when the aircraft landed and while Afghan National Police officers distributed the donations to the local population.

A UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter lands in Deh Gholaman village to drop off supplies. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

A UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter lands in Deh Gholaman village to drop off supplies. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

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Afghan Air Force discusses partnership with Task Force Thunder

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
159th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation BrigadeKandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – Members of the Afghan Air Force met with the leaders of Task Force Thunder here April 2nd to discuss future partnership opportunities to further expand the capabilities of native rotary-wing assets.

Afghan Air Force Maj. Gen. Abdul Razik Sherzai, the commander of the Kandahar Air Wing, along with members of his staff, met with Task Force Thunder commander Col. Todd Royar and his subordinate leaders to evaluate how the two organizations could best work together.

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Elizabeth Kimbrough - an AH-64 Apache pilot - and Capt. Donna Buono (middle) - the commander of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, and an AH-64 Apache pilot - introduce Afghan air force Maj. Gen. Abdul Razik Sherzai, the commander of the Kandahar Air Wing, to the helicopter during the general's visit with Task Force Thunder here April 2nd. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Elizabeth Kimbrough - an AH-64 Apache pilot - and Capt. Donna Buono (middle) - the commander of Company B, 3rd Battalion, 101st Aviation Regiment, and an AH-64 Apache pilot - introduce Afghan air force Maj. Gen. Abdul Razik Sherzai, the commander of the Kandahar Air Wing, to the helicopter during the general's visit with Task Force Thunder here April 2nd. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

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Female aviators defy reported odds

 

Written by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl
Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne Division159th Combat Aviation BrigadeKandahar Airfield, Afghanistan – When Chief Warrant Officer 4 Trudy Truax arrived at her first unit as an OH-58A pilot in 1996, her commander refused her orders.

“I’ve had my own battalion commanders not speak to me,” Truax said.

Truax was one of the first females to join the community of Cobra, Apache and Kiowa pilots after then-President Bill Clinton lifted the restrictions that kept women from flying the traditionally combat-focused rotary-wing birds. She was one of only six women in her class – three from West Point and three warrant officers. Today, she’s the only one of the six still serving in the Army, and she serves as the standardization instructor pilot for Company C (Dustoff), 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment, which is currently deployed to Afghanistan with Task Force Thunder, the 159th Combat Aviation Brigade.

From left to right: Capt. Carmel Cammack, Capt. Donna J. Buono, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Anne Wiley, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Elizabeth Kimbrough, all leaders within Task Force Palehorse, join for a group shot in outside the task force's operation center at Kandahar Air Field. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

From left to right: Capt. Carmel Cammack, Capt. Donna J. Buono, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Anne Wiley, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Elizabeth Kimbrough, all leaders within Task Force Palehorse, join for a group shot in outside the task force's operation center at Kandahar Air Field. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Stephanie Carl)

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