Story and Photos by
Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division
The Soldiers of Headquarters and Support Company, 209th Aviation Support Battalion, Task Force Lobos, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, 25th Infantry Division, keep aviation moving, here.
As one of the larger companies in TF Lobos, the “Terminators” are responsible for moving and tracking equipment and personnel, maintaining the vehicles that keep helicopters armed and fueled, and ensuring Soldiers are healthy and fed, all critical missions to sustain the brigade’s combat power.
According to Capt. Matthew Rivera, commander, HSC, 209th ASB, TF Lobos, his company combines traditional battalion-level command and control operations with brigade-level logistical, ground maintenance, medical and food service support operations. And the Terminators have been doing it successfully ever since the 25th CAB arrived in theater back in August 2009.
“To date, we have processed well over 12,000 personnel actions and maintained a geographically dispersed communications network through our command and control operations,” explained Rivera. “In addition, our support operations section manages logistical support for all of Task Force Wings operations across United States Division-North.
“We have (also conducted) air movement requests in support of battlefield circulation and logistical resupply missions,” Rivera said.
Chief Warrant Officer-3 Marlon Mejia is Rivera’s senior maintenance technician and also serves as the senior ground maintenance technician for the 25th CAB. For Mejia, the company’s success is due in large part to the dedication of its Soldiers.
“Our ground maintenance is exceptional, especially considering the variety of assets we are responsible for,” Mejia said.
The Soldiers of HSC, 209th ASB, maintain the Quick Reaction Force and all battalion transportation vehicles to include all up-armored humvees, numerous Mine Resistant Ambush Protected, or MRAP, vehicles, and an array of cranes and other military trucks.
Ground maintenance also encompasses the welding, armament, radio and night vision goggle shops, in addition to a team of generator mechanics.
“(The Terminators are a) group of Soldiers doing a fantastic job, and it’s because of the experience and leadership we have at the (noncommissioned officer level),” Mejia continued.
One of Mejia’s maintenance team NCOs is Sgt. Richard Peterson, small-arms repairer, squad leader and shops section sergeant, for HSC, 209th ASB.
“We’re successful because we have very talented and bright young Soldiers,” Peterson said, who is on his third deployment to Iraq. “They can figure things out when the manuals are outdated or require solutions with tools we don’t have.
“Together, we do a great job of figuring things out, and I would definitely put these Soldiers up against any that I have worked with in my career,” Peterson added.
According to Mejia, HSC has maintained a 98-percent operational readiness rate for all battalion vehicles throughout the deployment. However, HSC’s ground maintenance success tells just part of the company’s story.
The unit also facilitates meal service for about 11,000 Soldiers every day at COB Speicher’s South Dining Facility and an additional 300 meals daily at the “Lobos Roadhouse,” a satellite feeding location for Soldiers who work unconventional and evening shifts.
The Terminators also have provided medical treatment to more than 10,000 patients at the Aviation Combined Aid Station, and have certified more than 800 combat lifesavers across the 25th CAB.
“Making sure Soldiers accomplish whatever goals they set for themselves is important to me,” said 1st Lt. Puja Ghosh, medical platoon leader, HSC, 209th ASB. “Whether it’s (physical training), educational or other professional and personal goals, it doesn’t matter. Not only does that concern for Soldiers fall under my responsibility as a platoon leader, but it’s also something that is important to me personally.
“I want my Soldiers to look back on this deployment and see it as the year spent getting something accomplished,” she added. “I think they’ll be able to say that.”