Soldiers from the 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, deployed from Fort Riley to Afghanistan throughout the month of August in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The “Demon Brigade” departed Kansas in several groups, sending more than 2,000 soldiers overseas. The CAB hosted a small deployment ceremony for each group at the 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st CAB hangar, which included a block of time for soldiers and families to say farewell.
“Your support of these soldiers is key,” said Lt. Col. Jon Spell, commander of the battalion. “It’s going to be a key to our success in Afghanistan.”
Many of the deployment events saw several hundred soldiers leaving in a group, while other ceremonies had only a few; one ceremony honored just three soldiers who were departing.
But every ceremony included family members, community members and fellow soldiers there to support the CAB’s mission.
“Thank you for lending them to us for a little while so they can go downrange and take care of their job,” Capt. Kevin Daul, the 1st CAB rear detachment chaplain, said to families at one ceremony.
Following designated family time, each group lined up in formation for the small ceremony that consisted of a prayer from a chaplain and a speech from a commander in the brigade. The soldiers then marched out of the hangar doors to applause from those attending.
“It’s now our time to write our history,” said Col. Matthew Lewis, 1st CAB commander, said, “for you soldiers to write your history.”
The 1st CAB is replacing the 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division. It will be deployed to Afghanistan for about nine months.