Unit starts relocating to Colo.
January 15, 2009
PYEONGTAEK, South Korea — An Army attack helicopter unit in South Korea is girding for a major logistics operation that will move it from Camp Eagle in Wonju to Fort Carson, Colo.
The 1st Battalion, 2nd Aviation Regiment will make Fort Carson its new home, but its troops will then deploy for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. The unit has been in South Korea since November 1994.
Nicknamed "Half-Attack," the battalion is part of the 2nd Infantry Division’s 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, and flies the AH-64D Apache Longbow attack helicopter. About 360 soldiers are currently assigned.
In coming months, the unit will ready its helicopters, vehicles and other equipment for shipment from Busan in the peninsula’s southeast to Long Beach, Calif.
"It’s a pretty big deal, especially when you talk about relocating a battalion-sized unit across to a different continent," said Maj. Jason Lewallen, the battalion’s operations officer.
At the same time, its soldiers and their families will be steeped in out-processing paperwork and all the other administrative tasks that go with changing duty stations.
"One of the hardest pieces for us is trying to bring in all the families … that will have to move and come together at Fort Carson," he said.
For now, the battalion is mostly continuing its normal day-to-day routines and training.
Starting this week, it will be among other aviation brigade units taking part in annual gunnery qualification at the Rodriguez Live Fire Complex that ends Feb. 4.
"Once the gunnery finishes, then our focus 100 percent will be on finalizing the packing," Lewallen said.
The battalion’s vehicles and equipment will be trucked from Camp Eagle to Busan, and Apache crews will fly their aircraft to the port.
There, all the items will be put aboard ship for transport to Long Beach. Aircrews will fly their helicopters from Long Beach to Fort Carson, while other equipment will be moved by train. About a dozen families moved during the Christmas school break, in time to enroll their children at Fort Carson before school resumed Jan. 6, he said. About 45 families have yet to relocate.
The battalion plans a formal departure ceremony at Camp Eagle in mid-March.