NEWS | May 1, 2019

Kansas National Guard Assault Helicopter Battalion completes Middle East missions

By Sgt. Emily Finn 35th Combat Aviation Brigade

U.S. Army Soldiers participated in a transfer of authority ceremony at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, April 29, 2019.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Todd Loughney, commander of the 1st. Battalion, 108th Aviation Regiment, Kansas Army National Guard, and U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Darrian Campbell, encased the battalion colors signifying the completion of their nine-month deployment to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield (OSS) and Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

The 1-108th Assault Helicopter Battalion (AHB) consisted of Kansas, Texas, Minnesota and Utah Army National Guardsmen. Throughout their mobilization, they worked with joint and multi-national forces enhancing partnerships. As the sole U.S. Army aviation asset under OSS, the 1-108th AHB supported Task Force Spartan’s mission maintaining stability and security in the region, according to U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Ben Corell, commander of the Minnesota National Guard’s 34th Red Bull Infantry Division and Task Force Spartan. “The 1st of the 108th truly embraced this mission.”

They provided support to the U.S. Marine paradrops and completed deck landing qualifications with the U.S. Navy. Through MedEvac 101, an aeromedical evacuation familiarization course, the Soldiers trained many U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, and Kuwaiti military and civilian personnel the essentials of calling in an aeromedical evacuation request. They also conducted multiple types of aerial gunnery, including a sniper shoot with U.S. Army snipers.

“I would like to express my gratitude, on behalf of the command team, to all the Soldiers and leaders of the 1st Battalion, 108th Aviation, and Task Force Javelin for a job well done,” said Loughney. “You have accomplished a multifaceted and geographically dispersed aviation mission in a challenging environment.”

The 1-108th AHB operated in nine different locations across the Middle East. During their rotation, they flew nearly 8,000 hours using both rotary and fixed-wing aircrafts. They completed more than 100 aeromedical evacuations. They also facilitated the movement of more than 5,000 personnel, approximately 700 distinguished guests and nearly one million pounds of cargo.

Corell congratulated Loughney and U.S. Campbell, command sergeant major of the 1-108th AHB, on the accomplishments made throughout the deployment.

“Your battalion can leave this theater knowing you’ve made a difference in the lives of U.S. military, and in the lives of our regional partners’ formations,” said Corell.

The 1-108th AHB transferred authority of the mission to the 8th Battalion, 229th Aviation Regiment, a U.S. Army Reserve aviation command headquartered in Fort Knox, Kentucky, Commander Lt. Col. Clinton Williams and Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Gray.