FORT HOOD, Texas –
Twenty-eight Soldiers assigned to Company F, 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, 11th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade, returned to Fort Hood, Texas, following a nine-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve, Jan. 5.
The Air Traffic Services Company from Fort Rucker, Alabama, facilitated more than 18,000 flights, which included missions around Kuwait and Iraq – to name a few, while serving under 5th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, 244th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade.
Lt. Col. Michael R. Bean, commander of 7-158th, said this "was a non-standard mission where two different companies from two different brigades came together and returned together."
During the deployment, the ATS companies from the 11th and 244th ECAB were tasked to merge as a single company to conduct airspace management, lessen risks to airspace users, and increase the overall force effectiveness.
Col. Harvey A. Cutchin, commander of the 244th ECAB, said this feat was a success due to the same training standards brought on by both companies, and due to the leadership that guided the mission through.
"Capt. Curtis T. Patterson, the company commander, and his team did an excellent job in bringing the companies together," said Cutchin. "His leadership was key in helping us manage aircraft flow and maintaining a safe environment for the aircraft."
Col. Roger F. Deon, commander of the 11th ECAB, agreed with Cutchin.
"I am very proud of Company F," he said. "Their dedicated efforts and true professionalism in direct support of the ATC mission within the CENTCOM area of responsibility directly enabled the combined and joint forces."
"Now, our goal for the 11th ECAB is to learn from 244th ECAB's deployment, gather their lessons learned, and shape our collective training so we can continue to build the most capable, combat-ready, and lethal reserve force," he added.
With the mission complete, Company F will conduct demobilization operations at the Fort Hood Deployment Readiness Center, where they will receive briefings, medical evaluations, and other counseling opportunities. Once post-deployment recovery and administrative requirements are complete, the unit will begin the reintegration phase back into family life, the community, and their civilian jobs.