CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait – The 28th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade formally transferred authority of its mission in the Middle East to the 40th Combat Aviation Brigade.
The ceremony included the casing of the 28th ECAB’s colors, a rallying flag, symbolizing that the mission is complete and members are to return home. Members of the 40th CAB uncased their colors as they began their service in Kuwait.
The 28th ECAB - 1,400 Soldiers from nine states - arrived in the Middle East in late summer to increase regional security and peace in the region while serving U.S. interests. Members supported the fight against Daesh, maintained a military posture in Southwest Asia and enhanced partnerships with allies.
The primary role of the 28th was aviation operations using UH-60 Black Hawk, CH-47 Chinook and AH-64 Apache helicopters, as well as some fixed-wing and unmanned aerial assets.
Soldiers with the 28th ECAB served in 13 locations across five countries, flew over 30,000 flight hours, 19,000 passengers and 2.5 million pounds of cargo and performed 220 medevac missions. They drove over 190,000 miles, handled over $10 million in fuel and $13 million in ammunition, completed 28 aircraft phases with 125,000 maintenance man-hours and over 1,200 groundwork orders.
They also played a key role in enhancing interoperability between the U.S. and militaries from allied nations, working closely with aviators from the Italian army’s Airmobile Task Group Griffon and the Spanish army’s Task Force Toro.
Sgt. Dominic Caccese held the 28th ECAB’s colors during the ceremony and watched that final task completed.
“It felt great to see the colors cased because it's one of the last tasks to complete for us to go home,” said Caccese. “I’m looking forward to seeing my family and friends again. I’m also looking forward to finishing my senior year of college.”
One of the biggest challenges the brigade faced during the deployment was protecting Soldiers from COVID-19 and helping prevent the spread of the virus. According to the brigade medical operations officer, Capt. Catherine Green, it went beyond mask mandates.
“There were constant changes to Army, CDC, DOD and theater guidance as well as restrictions of movement, quarantine and COVID-19 testing in response to outbreaks,” said Green. “COVID-19 impacted all areas of the Army and we had to assist command teams in more ways than we usually do.”
Col. Howard Lloyd, commander of the 28th ECAB, said the brigade would not have been so successful were it not for the support and sacrifices of families, friends and employers back home.
“28th ECAB Soldiers demonstrated the passion, desire and motivation required in a multifunctional task force to meet this complex, pandemic operating environment head-on,” said Lloyd. “I was blessed to be a part of this combined team and I look forward to a successful redeployment.”