Hello to all Blackhawk Families,
Every two weeks I am going to try to send CPT Barth and Mrs. Bush a note to post on the vFRG Website and send out in email through the FRG channels to keep families updated on what we are doing here in Theater. It has been two weeks since our main body flights have departed from Fort Benning to Kuwait. Over these past two weeks, Major Ryan Howell, the Executive Officer and CSM Alan Hummel, the Squadron Command Sergeant Major have been over watching training and equipment downloading in Kuwait while the troop commanders and I have been up in Iraq conducting leaders training.
The majority of the troopers will continue to train in Kuwait through the end of the month, while some have already moved north to begin to coordinate with the unit that we are relieving in Iraq. Training has ranged from learning how to safely exit a rolled over vehicle (which is conducted in some great simulators), to ensuring our rifles our zeroed, to sitting through a variety of classes to give us better insight into issues we will encounter over the next year. We have also conducted some very realistic platoon and section level lanes in which the platoon stay overnight in the field for one or two days while they train with blank and live ammunition. In the next few days, C Troop will conduct one of these overnight training sessions and the mortar sections across the squadron will fire their 120mm tubes to ensure that they are in good working condition. Overall the squadron had stayed active and engaged in work and training, and the majority of soldier’s agree that the training has been excellent. The troops have done extremely well and continue to impress the instructors here in Kuwait who continually heap praise up on them for their discipline and competence. You should be proud of them!
Morale is high, and although all soldiers miss their families they appear to be coping well with the separation. For some of these young men and women, this is the first time in a foreign country and an eye opening experience. Our greatest risk at this time is really the risk of a vehicle accident and soldiers being despondent because of the separation from their families. We have been mitigating risk here with our composite risk assessments and controls to reduce risks. I urge you to do the same in your daily routine back at home. When possible avoid being out late at night or driving long distances in bad weather. Most accidents happen during these times and even going to a grocery store in a well lit, safe neighborhood at night, is a greater risk than going during the day. Please look at the risks to you and your family in your daily routine and see how you can reduce them, it is important during the deployment for your spouse to know that you are safe and it is a good lifetime practice. Please advise the rear detachment leadership if you think that your soldier is having an unusual amount of trouble handling the stresses of the deployment so that we can engage him or her quickly to assess the situation.
CPT Mike Barth and Mrs. Bush have done a great job with the rear detachment, FRGs and keeping everyone informed. My next note will be from Iraq and I will concentrate on describing the quality of life throughout our area that we will be operating. I also want to pitch our Facebook page where CPT Chris Aiello continues to post pictures that he receives from the troops. It is a good way to stay in touch and see what we are up to. Finally I hope that every trooper has been emailing or calling his family at least weekly. There are plenty of AT&T calling stations here and internet access. With all of the training they may not have time to touch base every day, but there is not reason why they cannot email several times a week and call at least weekly.
Until the next note, CSM Alan Hummel and I wish you the best of luck and good health. Families are doing a fantastic job banding together and helping each other out and we appreciate the effort on everyone’s part to make the deployment easier for everyone involved. 2 weeks down and only 50 to go, it sounds like a lot now, but it will go fast. These first 90 days are the hardest for the families and the soldiers, please continue to persevere and know that things get easier for all parties as we move past the first three months. We appreciate everyone doing their part to win this fight so that our children do not have to make the same sacrifices that their parents are making today. Thank you for being part of something much bigger than ourselves, stay focused on why we are doing this, you are all heroes. As always Stay Courageous and Faithful!
LTC Chris Kennedy
Commander, 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment