FORT RILEY — The 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division held a casing ceremony Friday morning at Cavalry Parade Field here in preparation for the unit’s upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The brigade, which includes roughly 2,200 soldiers, will be deployed for approximately nine months in southern, southwest and western Afghanistan. Its operations here will be closed by the end of August.
The soldiers have been training for the past two years in various locations including California and Louisiana for the climates similar in temperature and condition to what soldiers will encounter overseas. Conditions at those training sites are also similar in terrain to what soldiers will be encountering while they are deployed.
“We’ve rehearsed situations like going down and dealing with an injured soldier,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew Lewis.
Lewis said soldiers have been finishing up medical processes and powers of attorney. Those who are to be left behind have been working to expand their support network while loved ones are away.
“We have the opportunity to close up training…the mission starts next,” said Sgt. Maj. Jason Werner. “We have the most well trained and up-to-date Army units including the latest mike model Blackhawks, drones and UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) that will support the United States.”
The colors will be uncased in Afghanistan once the brigade officially takes over aviation operations there.