12th Combat Aviation Brigade marks return from Afghanistan, Iraq missions

Col. Robert Doerer, commander of U.S. Army Europe's 12th Combat Aviation Brigade, joins briagde Command Sgt. Maj. David Perkins (right) to uncase the 12th CAB colors during a cermony at Katterbach Army Airfield in Ansbach, Germany, Jan. 13. Several of the most recent 12th CAB units that recently returned from Iraq and Afghanistan uncased their colors during the ceremony, signifying the official end to those deployments. (Photo by Spc. William Whisennand)

12th Combat Aviation Brigade marks return from Afghanistan, Iraq missions

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs
February 25, 2011

ANSBACH, Germany -- After years of maintaining constant deployment cycles, U.S. Army Europe’s 12th Combat Aviation Brigade marked the official end of its current combat deployments and the resumption of the unit’s European mission with a mass colors-uncasing ceremony at Katterbach Army Airfield here, Jan. 13.

The opportunity to hold an event for the entire brigade was a difficult feat as elements of the unit have been continuously deployed to combat zones since its transformation into a combat aviation brigade in 2006, and one of its battalions – the 1st Battalion, 214th Aviation Regiment – still has Soldiers from two companies deployed to Afghanistan.

“This event serves to recognize those elements of 12th CAB that recently redeployed from Iraq and Afghanistan. …  Although we are conducting an uncasing ceremony, we still need not forget those that remain deployed,” said Col. Robert Doerer, 12th CAB commander.

The most recent units to redeploy to Germany uncased their colors during the day’s ceremony –12th CAB, whose Headquarters and Headquarters Company deployed to Iraq; 3rd Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, also deployed to Iraq; and the 5th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, that deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan.

 “We were simultaneously dispersed in over 21 separate locations, to include our home bases in Europe, every regional command in Afghanistan, and every United States division in Iraq.  If we were on a movie poster, it would read along the bottom – ‘In Theaters Everywhere,’” Doerer continued.

The colonel recognized the many components that rounded out the unit’s mission, including German communities, families of the “Griffin brigade”, rear detachments and many individuals and organizations across U.S. Army Garrison Ansbach.

 Doerer spoke of one area in particular that brought the community together in support of Soldiers.

“From the redeployment of 3-159th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion in August 2009 through the final Soldier’s return from 5-158th in December 2010, over a 16-month period, there were 44 redeployment ceremonies in the Ansbach area, with a bulk of them occurring between June and December 2010,” Doerer said.

The home front Griffins’ tireless efforts and ability to quickly adapt under pressure made those ceremonies and the subsequent reintegration of returning Soldiers and their families back into the community successful, the commander said.

Doerer also lauded spouses and the Family Readiness Groups of the brigade that sponsored morale-boosting activities, conducted volunteer work and supported single Soldiers during deployments.

“I hope you picked up the theme of today’s event.  It is about teamwork, about many parts of an organization in many different locations that came together … The “Griffin” team was not successful without each of you pulling together,” Doerer concluded.