Aviation Unit Departs for Deployment to Afghanistan

Chief Warrant Officer 2 Josh Erwin says good bye to his wife, Lauren, and children during a farewell ceremony held at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Boone National Guard Center, Frankfort, Ky., May 8, 2020. Erwin, a medevac pilot with Det. 1, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment MEDEVAC, is deploying to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom Sentinel. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Nasir Stoner)

Story by Maj. Gus LaFontaine, Joint Force Headquarters

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Members of Detachment 1, Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment MEDEVAC departed to Ft. Hood, Texas for pre-mobilization training. 

The Kentucky Army National Guard aviation company held a small departure ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Boone National Guard Center. The unit will provide Blackhawk medical evacuation support while in Afghanistan.

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Deputy Adjutant General Brig. Gen. Rob Larkin addressed the company during the departure ceremony. Larkin lauded the experience of the 238th by recognizing that a majority of the company’s Soldiers had previously deployed.

Family members bid farewell during sendoff at the Army Aviation Support Facility on Boone National Guard Center, Frankfort, Ky., May 8, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Nasir Stoner)

He acknowledged the importance of the medical evacuation mission in his address to the group.

“You guys will be coming out to save the day for our forces. Do the absolute best job that can be done.”

Lt. Col. Adam Kearney, Battalion Commander of the 751st Troop Command, reminded the group of the seriousness of their mission.

“Eighteen months ago you began preparing. That phase is over but this is just starting. It’s like football. You practice and practice until it’s game time,” said Kearney. “It’s game time now. Practice is over. This is real. Trust your training. Trust your leadership.”

Capt. Jonathan Strayer, Det. 1 commander, said, “I’m confident in our group that is deploying for this mission after successfully completing our training.”

He cited the extended period of time that was dedicated to training as reason for his confidence in his Soldiers.

“We’ve had the same group training together for the last couple of years. We put our heads down and concentrated on completing the training events that we needed to do. As a result, we built a cohesive team.”

When asked about his goal for the upcoming deployment, he replied, “We’re going to support the mission and bring everyone home safely.”

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