Camp Taji, Iraq – Underneath a hangar near the flight line on a cool Wednesday afternoon, the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade marked another step on its historic deployment.
After nearly two years of training leading up to this deployment, Task Force Normandy officially took command of the the aviation mission in Iraq from the 40th CAB. The transfer of authority ceremony happened Nov. 09, 2011, Camp Taji, Iraq.
The nearly 2,000-Soldier task force from more than 20 states bring many air assets to the fight. These assets include: AH-64 Apaches, CH-47 Chinooks, UH-60 Blackhawks, OH-58 Kiowa Warriors, unmanned aerial systems and fixed-wing aircraft.
The nearly month long relief-in-place transition period allowed Soldiers from 29th CAB and their counterparts from the 40th CAB to interface.
“I felt more comfortable transitioning the authority yesterday [Nov. 9] than I did two weeks or two months ago because I’ve seen things here and how we can be integrated into the operation,” said Col. David Carey, commander of the 29th CAB. “The Soldiers of the 29th CAB have been training for this mission for two years, the only constant is change.”
The brigade will provide full-spectrum aviation operations under United States Division-Center through the end of Operation New Dawn.
This includes: support to operational maneuver, heavy lift, attack, reconnaissance missions and assault; transitioning Soldiers, contractors and U.S. civilians out of the Iraq Joint Operating Area; and cleaning, declassifying and de-cluttering the facilities that have been used to support aviation operations for the past eight years, added Carey.
The outgoing leadership, Col. Mitchell Medigovich and Command Sgt. Maj. David McFerrin from the 40th CAB, cased their brigade’s colors, signifying an end to the unit’s mission in Iraq. The incoming leadership, Col. David Carey and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard from the 29th CAB, unveiled their brigade’s colors to assume their new mission.
“It’s a very historic time for the U.S. A war, started in 2003, is coming to an end, and the 29th CAB will be the last aviation unit that’s going to be here [Iraq],” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard, command sergeant major of the 29th CAB. “I feel good about that because we’re closing out that chapter in American history.”