Greetings and “Garryowen!” from Forward Operating Base Apache, Afghanistan. We hope this note finds you well this Holiday Season with bright prospects for the New Year.
At writing of this letter, the Warpaint Squadron is again in the midst of a very busy and challenging time. In July, the Squadron received notification that it was scheduled to deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and operate throughout Zabul Province. True to form, this deployment required the Squadron operate in a decentralized manner with eight separate elements spread across different Forward Operating Bases. Prior to deployment, we negotiated a vigorous training exercise at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. This exercise was followed by a rapid loading out of the Squadron’s equipment. The Troopers received two weeks of leave to spend with loved ones and then we deployed to Afghanistan in staggard fashion with the lead elements departing Fort Stewart in October and the trail elements deploying from Fort Stewart this month. On the 7th of November, a good date, the Squadron cased the colors on Contrell Field with several 5-7 CAV veterans in attendance to include MG(R) Edmonds and COL(R) Charlie Batch. To each of the our veterans who made the journey to witness the casing ceremony, we are humbled by your continued support.
On 27 November, we uncased the colors and hoisted the battle flag indicating that the proud Troopers of 5-7 CAV were now operating in Southwest Afghanistan. We replaced a contingent from 1-8 Infantry and are now undertaking several different Afghan National Security Forces partnering and security missions within the Zabul province. The Squadron’s ultimate goal is to facilitate the ability of Afghan National Army counterparts to operate independently. We will achieve this by mentoring our Afghan National Army counterparts in staff and leadership functions as well as providing timely support when our partner units are in contact. The Afghan National Army faces many challenges similar to our Army, but in a different context due to cultural, logistic, economic, and political issues. Once we complete our mission our redeployment timeline is slated for early fall of 2013.
The Squadron is doing well and unquestionably performing in a manner that would make the Squadron's veterans proud. Our performance thus far validates that our extensive train up for this deployment produced Officers, NCOs and Troopers who were ready for the mission. Fortunately, we also retain love and support from the Families back on the home front and are frequently in touch with our Rear-Detachment.
We know the Holiday Season is a tough time to be deployed. It is the fellow Troopers, proud veterans, and Family members of the 7th Cavalry Regiment that provide the much needed support and care for the deployed Troopers, and we thank you for this support. We hope everyone has a warm and safe Holiday Season and we look forward to providing further updates as we get settled in Afghanistan and continue our work with the Afghan National Army.
MERRY CHRISTMAS and GARRYOWEN!