It seems like we've been on the move continuously for the last two months as we went from Fort Hood to Fort Rucker, then back to Fort Hood before going on a pass for the Easter weekend. We then had a few days at Fort Hood for last-minute preparations and packing. After a journey that took about 28 hours of travelling by a few buses and a long airplane flight, we arrived at Camp Buehring in Kuwait. Our arrival started the Relief in Place process with the 35th Combat Aviation Brigade from Missouri. We'd like to thank the 35th for being such gracious hosts and for getting our soldiers up to speed on current operations as quickly as possible. I'm pleased to report that they've since returned to the United States to begin the reintegration process with their families. We often use "Crawl, Walk, Run" as an analogy for getting trained and ready for a mission or exercise. In the "Crawl Phase," we were literally crawling through the dirt or lying in the mud firing our individual weapons at Camp Swift. In the "Walk Phase" at Fort Hood, we started working together as a unit with a focus on the upcoming mission. The Aviation Training Exercise at Fort Rucker was the final test to see how we would respond to the myriad of situations that we could face while deployed. This invaluable exercise utilized the best simulator technology in the world to provide a realistic and real-time experience for elements at all levels within the brigade, from individual pilots making critical decisions in the air to the brigade level working with their higher headquarters.


While at Fort Rucker, our aviators also received exceptional training in the Helicopter Overwater Survival Trainer, more commonly known as "The Dunker." Utilizing a few simulators, we trained and practiced how to get out of an aircraft during a water event. On April 18, the 35th CAB relinquished responsibility for Army Aviation operations in the CENTCOM Theater to the 36th CAB. The raising of the Texas flag in front of the brigade headquarters sealed the deal as the Mustangs went to work. For the full story with pictures and some video, go to The brigade is actually transferring responsibility in phases. The 449th ASB (Texas) and A Co. 1-207th (Alaska) took command a few days before the brigade headquarters and other units will arrive in the next few months. We are now in the "Run Phase" as we're conducting a wide range of operations and training events with our allies in Kuwait and across the region and over the Arabian Gulf. The over-water training we received is especially valuable now as our air crews are practicing being rescued by a hoist on board a MEDEVAC helicopter. Deck landing qualifications on U.S. Navy ships are also taking place, which will further expand our capabilities in the region. On the Afghanistan front, B Co., 1-149th, is now fully operational providing AH-64 support and the MEDEVAC crews of C Co., 2-149th, continue to provide valuable support to those wounded on the battlefield. The heavy-lifting Chinooks of B. Co., 2-149th GSAB, are also on their way. This company, composed of soldiers from Texas and Oklahoma left their homes earlier this week and are now at Fort Hood for a few months of training. There's a lot more going on, but that's plenty for now. For those interested in seeing the 36th CAB working and living on a daily basis, check out Sgt. Mark Scovell has recently joined me in the PAO section and takes some great photos, which are posted there. (Stillinger is the public affairs officer, 36th Combat Aviation Brigade)