YIR: 25th CAB aviators redeploy, upgrade, partner with Navy

| December 20, 2013 | 0 Comments
A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 25th CAB, 25th ID, comes in for a landing on the back of the USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200), a Navy replenishment oiler, during deck-landing qualification, July 15. (Photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division) (Photo has been altered from its original form; background elements have been removed.)

A UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 25th CAB, 25th ID, comes in for a landing on the back of the USNS Guadalupe (T-AO 200), a Navy replenishment oiler, during deck-landing qualification, July 15. (Photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division) (Photo has been altered from its original form; background elements have been removed.)

Story and photos by Capt. Richard Barker
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD — The 25th Combat Aviation Brigade started 2013 by returning to its home, here, following a yearlong deployment in Afghanistan.

The CAB celebrated its return with a redeployment ceremony and by uncasing the brigade colors, Jan. 31.

The 25th CAB was the last major Army unit out of Hawaii to deploy to Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, marking the first time all of the units were home together at the same time since 2001.

KANEOHE — A CH-47F Chinook helicopter assigned to Company B, 3-25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, drops the caving ladder for divers with the Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, Naval Special Warfare Group 3, for extraction during helocast training at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, June 18. (Photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

KANEOHE — A CH-47F Chinook helicopter assigned to Company B, 3-25th Avn. Regt., 25th CAB, 25th ID, drops the caving ladder for divers with the Navy SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1, Naval Special Warfare Group 3, for extraction during helocast training at Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, June 18. (Photo by Capt. Richard Barker, 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

While the brigade enjoyed the month of February for redeployment block leave, several notifications poured in recognizing the effort and hard work of Soldiers. These included Army Aviation Association of America winners for Crew Chief of the Year, DUSTOFF Medic of the Year, NCO of the Year, and Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year.

During April, the 25th CAB experienced a complete changeover of leadership as the brigade and all battalion command groups held changes of command. In the last of five changes of command during the month, Col. Kenneth Hawley took command of the 25th CAB from Col. Frank Tate, April 30th.

Hawaii communities welcomed the 25th CAB home during several events, to include the state Senate and House of Representatives awarding the Hawaii Medal of Honor to eight Soldiers.

The brigade worked with several organizations in the Hawaiian community. It invited local Hawaii educators, here, and conducted knowledge sharing with Queen’s Medical Center personnel on risk management processes.

In early spring, the CAB offered assistance to Soldiers who were relearning how to be good husbands, fathers, wives and mothers through several couples classes and marriage retreats.

Also, during the spring, individual and small unit training began as the brigade started a new training cycle in preparation for building contingency reaction forces designed to provide aviation support for ground troops as the Army realigned to the Pacific.

Soldiers practiced static load training, leadership development courses, rifle ranges and plenty of flying.

Summer was a time when the 25th CAB’s realignment to operations in the Pacific really started to show blue colors. In mid-June, the brigade started what would develop into a strong joint relationship with the Navy by conducting training with Sailor divers who practiced being extracted and inserted by CH-47F Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. This training continued into July with the 25th CAB conducting deck-landing qualifications aboard ships at sea for the first time in more than 10 years.

The end of the summer was an exciting time for the CAB as it received its first shipments of UH-60M models to replace the UH-60L Black Hawks, Aug. 27. The new model features several upgrades that increase the CAB’s ability to support troops on the ground.

Assuming its role with contingency response forces in the Pacific, the brigade successfully performed in a series of validation exercises in the fall to test and perfect the ability of its aviation support packages to rapidly deploy. This training was coupled by several units in the brigade conducting ground and aerial gunnery qualifications at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii.

The brigade ended its year solidifying its growing joint capabilities with the Navy during an exercise with the guided missile cruiser USS Lake Erie (CG-70), including OH-58D Kiowa Warrior deck-landing qualifications and recon training in December.

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Category: News, Year in Review

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