Afghanistan-bound units' predeployment ceremony delayed
February 15, 2005
GIEBELSTADT, Germany — The Afghanistan-bound 12th Aviation Brigade has postponed a predeployment and transfer-of-authority ceremony while V Corps officials ponder the long-term future of the units.
Capt. James Barber, a spokesman for the Giebelstadt-based unit, said several generals could not attend the ceremony on Tuesday.
He also said the command thought it best to separate the two events and hold them at later dates.
“Instead of [having] one major ceremony, we wanted to give each event the proper attention,” he said.
The brigade’s headquarters staff is scheduled to leave for a year’s service in Afghanistan in March and April along with two of its units from Giebelstadt: the 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, a UH-60 Black Hawk unit; and Company F of the 159th Aviation Regiment, a CH-47 Chinook unit.
Also headed to Afghanistan are two units based in nearby Illesheim: the 2nd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, an AH-64D Apache Longbow unit; and the 7th Battalion, 159th Aviation Regiment, an aviation maintenance unit.
This will be the first Afghanistan deployment for any of the battalions, but all are veterans of the first Operation Iraqi Freedom rotation in 2003-04.
Less clear is the future of the two units under 12th Aviation’s command not headed for Afghanistan: the 3rd Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment; and the 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment.
V Corps, the 12th Aviation’s Heidelberg-based parent command, has acknowledged it is transferring both units to the 1st Armored Division. Giebelstadt sources say they thought the transfer was permanent, a part of the Army’s sweeping transformation that is restructuring divisions into brigades and stripping corps-level commands of their combat units.
But a V Corps statement said the command hasn’t decided who will command the units after 12th Aviation finishes its Afghanistan tour.
“We are trying to set units in positions and in command-and-control relationships where the chance of further disruption for soldiers and family members is minimized,” the statement said.
Hilde Patton, a V Corps spokeswoman, described the reassignment as “indefinite.”