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Feature Stories

NEWS | Nov. 1, 2017

Company B, 229th Aviation Regiment assumes authority for CAB Gray Eagle missions

By Staff Sgt. Isolda Reyes 29th Combat Aviation Brigade

When Company D, 10th Aviation Regiment, took on missions in Kuwait and Iraq February 2017, little did they know how much they would contribute to the fight against Daesh and broader effort to provide security in the Arabian Gulf region.

The transfer of authority ceremony on October 26 marked the end of the company’s mission in both Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve as Capt. Joshua Heiner and 1st Sgt. Orlando Jackson, the command team of Co. D, 10th Avn. Regt., transferred authority to Capt. Trenton Conyers and 1st Sgt. Jamal Drayton of Company B, 229th Aviation Regiment at Ali Al Salem Air Base, Kuwait.

Co. B., 229th Avn. Regt., will continue the mission of providing unmanned reconnaissance, surveillance, targeting and acquisition for Operation Inherent Resolve.

The ceremony was attended by the 35th Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Newton and the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade command team.

“B Co., 229th, you have some big shoes to fill,” said Col. Mark Beckler, commander of the 29th CAB. “I have high hopes for you and look forward to forging our relationship in the upcoming months.”

During their nine-month deployment, Co. D, 10th Avn. Regt., utilized their MQ-1C unmanned aerial vehicles, known as Gray Eagles, in the skies over Iraq. The air crews flew more than 1,000 total missions and logged more than 2,000 flight hours per month during their busiest months from July through October.

In Iraq, the remotely controlled Gray Eagles played a critical role in the liberation of Mosul, Tal Afar and Hawijah. Many U.S. and coalition forces called on the Gray Eagles of D Co., 10th Avn. Regt., for Hellfire missile strikes against vehicle-born improvised explosive devices, well-entrenched Daesh fighting positions and other important targets.

Simultaneously, Co. D, 10th Avn. Regt Soldiers supported Operation Spartan Shield in Kuwait by providing training flights, maritime mission support and assisted in forging enduring airspace agreements in the skies above Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf in support of U.S. Army Central Command.

“We are very proud to have had you in the fight with us,” said Beckler.

Co. B, 229th Avn. Regt., comes to the Middle East from the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California and is only the sixth Gray Eagle UAS Company in the U.S. Army.

Conyers wished the outgoing command a safe trip home and ensured the leaders present at the ceremony that they are more than ready, willing and able to fill the shoes of their predecessors.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, a final order was read which relieved and redirected Soldiers from D Co., 10th Avn. return home to the 10th Mountain Division, in Fort Drum, New York, where they will reset and train for the next time the nation calls.