More than 30, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade helicopters are being reassembled at the Port of Wilmington, N.C. to fly back to Fort Bragg after arriving from Afghanistan, Sept. 27.
An integral part of the 82nd CAB’s success, the aircraft, including AH-64 Apache, CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, belong to the brigade’s fleet of helicopters that were flown in eastern Afghanistan during the brigade’s year-long deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom from September 2011 to September 2012.
“As the brigade looks toward redeployment, we’re proud to know we’ve made a difference in the most active battlefield in Afghanistan — Regional Command-East,” said Col. T.J. Jamison, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade commander.
As the brigade movement non-commissioned officer in charge for the 82nd CAB, Staff Sgt. Edwin Dickerson was responsible for organizing the event for the brigade’s pilots and petroleum supply specialists who participated in the helicopter movement.
“The operation requires the coordination of five different entities, including the 82nd CAB, the 841st Transportation Battalion, the Fort Bragg Aviation Logistics Management Division, the Port of Wilmington and the local airport,” Dickerson said.
“We are saving a lot in fuel and maintenance costs flying 30 minutes rather than two hours from Charleston with Soldiers who have just returned from a year-long combat deployment,” said Maj. Todd Tarnoff, 841st Transportation Battalion operations officer.
Working with the local airport, 82nd CAB Soldiers stepped in to ensure the helicopters were able to refuel at the port.
“The hardest part of this operation is coordinating to make sure we have enough fuel for the helicopters. We brought a total of three fuel trucks here and six fuelers,” Dickerson said.
ALMD personnel came to the port from Fort Bragg to ensure the helicopters, which had to be partially disassembled to fit in the ship coming across the Atlantic Ocean, are in good condition for the flight back to Fort Bragg.
“Rather than having the Soldiers who just got back from a year-long tour have to come here and assemble all of their helicopters. These guys come and set it all up so all (the 82nd CAB) has to do is send some pilots over to fly back to Fort Bragg,” said Tarnoff.
Within the next two weeks, the aircraft will be flown back to Simmons Army Airfield at Fort Bragg.