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Feature Stories

NEWS | Sept. 30, 2020

28th ECAB digging in for Mideast mission

By Photo by Capt. Travis Mueller 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade

Soldiers with the 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade have arrived in the U.S. Central Command region and are settling into their respective roles.

They are in the Middle East, within CENTCOM’s area of responsibility, to provide aviation assets and capabilities to help increase regional security and peace in the region while serving U.S. interests.

The 28th ECAB is taking that aviation mission over from the 34th ECAB, who has served in the Middle East since late-2019. Since arriving, 28th ECAB Soldiers are working with their counterparts in the 34th ECAB.

“The 34th is setting us up for success by ensuring that we know how all the systems and processes work here. They are going over a lot of the best practices they came up with and a lot of the lessons learned,” said Capt. Michael Palermo, the brigade’s assistant intelligence officer. “It’s starting us off ahead of the curve.”

The process, called relief-in-place or RIP, features 34th ECAB Soldiers working side-by-side with 28th ECAB Soldiers, teaching them the particulars of the job they will take over. It also allows the 28th to absorb wide-ranges of knowledge and experiences from their predecessors.

“During our pre-mobilization preparation and training, the 28th ECAB got to know the 34th ECAB very well,” said Col. Howard Lloyd, commander of the 28th ECAB. “We found out that they have a great command team and are surrounded by a very professional and efficient staff.”

The 34th ECAB dealt with many hardships over their deployment, including missile attacks from Iran, rocket attacks from outlaw groups and COVID-19. They also suffered the loss of one of their own, Spc. Juan Mendez Covarrubias, a signal support systems specialist with 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, who was killed in a rocket attack in March.

Through those hard times, the resilience and resolve of 34th ECAB Soldiers helped them complete their deployment. Passing the lessons learned from those experiences is helping the 28th ECAB get ready for the mission.

“34th ECAB Soldiers are resilient and specialists in their field,” said Lloyd. “It is an honor to follow in their footsteps and take the controls for supporting Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve.”