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NEWS | Jan. 25, 2022

Alaska Army Guardsmen return from Middle East deployment

By 1st Lt. Balinda O'Neal Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

The final group of Alaska Army National Guardsmen who were deployed to the U.S. Central Command Area of Operations in support of Operations Spartan Shield and Inherent Resolve returned home Jan. 21 after nine months supporting these missions overseas.

Sixty-four Alaska Army Guardsmen from Headquarters and Headquarters, Alpha, Delta and Echo Companies, of the 1st Battalion, 168th Regiment (General Support Aviation Battalion), departed here in March 2021.

“We had personnel spread throughout the area of operations,” said Capt. Melissa Eury, A Company, 1-168th GSAB commander, who explained that the unit occupied five different countries and worked with two different tasks forces. “The dedication, professionalism, and competence of our Soldiers left a lasting positive impression on the organizations in CENTCOM.”

Eury said that Alaska as a whole set the bar high for other elements to emulate.

“Our 1-168th GSAB elements represented the AKARNG extremely well during each phase of their yearlong deployment,” said Lt. Col. Todd Miller, 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment commander. “Our Alaska Guardsmen successfully executed a constantly evolving mission spread over multiple bases regardless of unique challenges and COVID-19 impacts.”

While deployed, they directly supported casualty evacuation, troop movement, and resupply for U.S. and allied forces in various locations in the Middle East.

“Alpha Company had two vastly different mission sets – half the company was focused on passenger and cargo movements, up to and including the commanding general for CENTCOM, and the other half primarily performed chase duties for the Medevac,” said Eury. “Chase duties included providing protection and security during flight operations and patient transportation.” 

Eury said that HHC elements augmented the communication, and command and control throughout the area of operations, Delta Company performed crucial and critical aircraft maintenance, and Echo company performed refueling and rearming duties.

“Our Soldiers and their families should be proud of the service and sacrifices they have made to improve the security of our nation and way of life,” said Miller.
The 1-207th AVN is simultaneously supporting US CENTCOM AOR with C-12 Huron fixed-wing aircraft pilots from the AKARNG’s 2nd Battalion, 641st Aviation Regiment and are expected to return in April.
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