FORWARD OPERATING BASE APACHE, Afghanistan The first subordinate unit of 4th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, cased its colors in preparation for redeployment during a ceremony June 13 on Forward Operating Base Apache in the Zabul Province of Afghanistan.
Soldiers of 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment Blackhawks were attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, during their deployment and operated out of Zabul Province instead of the Kandahar Province as most of the brigade did.
In his farewell speech to his attached unit, the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division commander, Col. James Crider, spoke his first impression of the cavalry Soldiers.
I was impressed the first time I was introduced to this unit back at (Joint Base Lewis-McChord), and theyve never failed to produce positive results even under the demanding conditions of combat, Crider said. Blackhawks are the example of how to conduct successful security force assistance.
The squadron partnered with soldiers of the 2nd Brigade, 205th Afghan National Army Corps, who were the original partners of the 2nd Mobile Strike Force now Regional Command-Easts only combat ready mobile strike force, said Lt. Col. Charles Lombardo, 2-1 Cav. commander.
Our major mission was to partner with them, to train and advise and give them the repetitions to take over basically our mission in Zabul, or if they get directed in southern Kandahar, Lombardo said.
Predeployment training at the brigades home station of JBLM, played a big part in the units success, Lombardo said.
Its been a great deployment and I just think that the training strategy that (Col. Michael Getchell, brigade commander) and the (brigade staff) put together has enabled us to be as successful as we have been, Lombardo said.
As the first subordinate unit in the brigade to case its regimental colors and head home to Washington state, Lombardo said he has expectations for his cavalrymen.
Were the cavalry squadron, so hopefully were the first one to be able to go back and reset the footprint for the rest of the (brigade) as we open up a new chapter, Lombardo said. It is a good feeling.
There are still some preparations for the next chapter, he said.
We want to make sure we set the new command teams up to have the success and be able to walk in to all the great leaders and formations that we were able to fall in on in 2010, Lombardo said.
Crider lauded the squadron for its performance since it arrived in Afghanistan in November 2012.
You can return home with your heads held high and with the confidence that you did all you could to make Afghanistan a better place, Crider said.
Other elements of 2nd Bde., 4th Inf. Div. Soldiers began returning from Afghanistan in May, but not as units.