Today on Fort Wainwright two new Army Officials took command of their posts just prior to a large scale deployment.
1-52 Aviation Regiment held a Change of Command Ceremony, welcoming new commander, LTC Thomas Barrett and CSM Alex Woodell to the Unit. For LTC Barrett, this is not the first time he has been in Fairbanks.
Barrett graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a degree in Economics and was part of the ROTC program, he said, “ I actually graduated from High School in Virginia but I grew up in Alaska, I wanted to come back to Alaska to attend college, so that's what brought me back here, because I love the state and it feels to me like I've come home."
For the new command, there is one obstacle that is fast approaching, deployment to Afghanistan.
CSM Woodell said it is the ones they leave behind who have the toughest mission, "For any upcoming deployment the first thing we want to do is make sure we are mission trained and ready. That's only half of the mission, the other half of the mission and the other part that goes unnoticed all the time, is the mission back here at home. These soldiers are really good at going down range and supporting freedom and democracy throughout the world, however back here the real challenge falls to those wives and family members."
The new commander says, their mission while deployed to Afghanistan is one they are familiar with, "We will do the same sorts of missions we train for here. We have a medevac company, we have CH-47s that do heavy lift, and then we move VIPs, and day to day operations of the battalion.”
When asked what taking over an Aviation Regiment of over 700 soldiers just months prior to a large scale deployment is like, CSM Woodell says he can only compare it to one thing, "The team is already built, it's like going into the super bowl and you get to be the head coach the day before the super bowl,” he went on to say, “This team is well trained and ready to go and will represent the Army well."