The Dragoon Newsletter- March 2014


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The Dragoon Newsletter covers the U.S. Army's 2d Cavalry Regiment. The Second Dragoons are the oldest mounted regiment on continuous active service in the U.S. Army. From its formation in 1836 to fight in the Second Seminole War, to its numerous deployments to the Middle East, the Regiment has distinguished itself in major campaigns: the Indian Wars, the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, both world wars, and the Persian Gulf War. Along the way members of the Regiment served gallantly in action, and 20 were awarded Medals of Honor.

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The Dragoon Newsletter- March 2014

  1. 1. Volume 4, Issue 3 Command Sgt. Maj. Wilbert E. Engram Jr., Regimental Command Sergeant Major Historical Events 2 2 CR, German Partnership 3 1st Squadron 4 2nd Squadron 5 3rd Squadron 6 4th Squadron 7 Fires 8 RSS 9 Highlights in 2d Cavalry History March 2014 March 9, 1847: The Battle of Vera Cruz of the Mexican-American War began with the Second Dragoons aboard ships waiting to land near Collado Beach, Mexico approximately three miles south of the port city of Vera Cruz. Under the command of seasoned Col. William S. Harney, 2nd Colonel of the Regiment, the Troopers had great confidence in their leadership that they would soon make it to Mexico City. The entire expedition was commanded by Maj. Gen. Winfried Scott, who determined that Vera Cruz would not fall to artillery fire alone and was simply the first battle of his campaign. The Regiment’s forces included members of A, B, C,F ,I and K Troops, and once it was over marked the first large scale amphibious assault in U.S. military history. The Mexican forces had intelligence that the landing would take place near Vera Cruz, but political instability in the country saw them fail to capitalize on this knowledge. On the evening of March 9, the entire US force had rowed their boats, and landed on the beaches without a single casualty. Col D.A. Sims, 77th Colonel of the Regiment Newsletter 2d Cavalry Regiment The Dragoon Family members of Soldiers assigned to 2d Cavalry Regiment, prepare to greet their troopers who are returning home from their most recent deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom on March 18, 2014. (U.S. Army photo by: Sgt. William A. Tanner)
  2. 2. PAGE 2Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Become a member of the 2d Cavalry Association - For more information, visit our website at: History Highlights cont...History Highlights cont... March 18-25, 1879: The Regiment was engaged in the Indian Wars in the newly established forts in the Department of Dakota. Forts Custer and McKeogh provided shelter for the Regiment during the cold winter, and spring. 1878 had been a trying year, seeing the Regiment’s enemy, the Cheyenne, and their infamous Chiefs Dull Knife and Little Wolf lead their bands into the Canadian wilderness as a refuge. Also, the U.S. Congress had not managed to appropriate pay for the Army, so the majority of the men had gone without compensation for some time. As the Cheyenne made their way back into the United States, the Regiment laid in wait and managed to capture Dull Knife near Fort Robinson, Nebraska. With Little Wolf still on the loose, Lt. William P. Clark along with Companies E and I located their camp near Elder Creek, Montana. On the 25th of March, Clark managed to convince these Indians to return with them to Fort McKeogh under escort where they actually served alongside the cavalry as scouts and thus were permitted to remain in the north. Politics of the time and the problems faced by the men of the 2nd Cavalry were not that different from those faced today. The Indians frequently used the rules of engagement and international borders to escape detection and to maintain freedom of movement. Interaction with these people and securing their cooperation however has always been important to effectively coming out on top in asymmetric environments.
  3. 3. Dragoon Newsletter 2d Cavalry Regiment bolsters partnership with2d Cavalry Regiment bolsters partnership with German army unitGerman army unit VOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 PAGE 3 T he ever-blossoming partner- ship between the 2d Cavalry Regiment and its German al- lies continues to grow with a joint live-fire training and squad exer- cises with the Panzergrenadierbatail- lon 122. Troops with the Regiment and Ger- man infantrymen fired mortars and conducted movement training with live ammunition March 27, 2014, at Rose Barracks, Germany. The training was another chance for the two units to build on the lasting relationship they've had over the years. A Stryker vehicle and a German tank pull into an area suited for the move- ment of ground forces, ramps let down from the back of both and out came American and German Soldiers ready to work together to complete one ob- jective: neutralize the enemy. The lane was designed to simulate the environment of today's modern battlefield and help the Soldiers learn and employ modern tactics for success in combat. The process leading up to the train- ing event required practice for both units that would take them to the next level of combat arms readiness. "We have taken the last three months to conduct numerous train-ups in order to do a combined arms ma- neuver live fire between ourselves and our partners with Panzergrenadier- bataillon 122," said Capt. Petr Vach, commander of 2nd Squadron Dragoon Ready Reserve, 2 CR. "We have con- ducted every aspect of the train-up with our partners, anything from small arms ranges to Squad Tactical Exer- cise (STX) lanes and shoot houses. We have supported each other throughout the last three months in an effort to conduct this live fire." During preparation for the exercise, 2nd Squadron's leadership took notice of the similarities in how the two units handle the tactical scenarios. "I think many of us were extremely surprised at how similar in TTP's (tactics, techniques and procedures) we are between our two nations and the train-up was far more seamless than any of us thought possible," said Vach. "We admire each others equip- ment with the tanks and the weapons, I think the Soldiers enjoy each others' company." Leadership with the 122 Panzer also agreed that it is paramount to conduct these joint trainings because of the reliance that exists between American and German forces as a result of de- ployments to a combat environment "We are fighting with you together in Afghanistan for more than 14 years now," said German army Capt. Chris- toph Gallitzendorfer, commander of 4th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, 122 Panzer. "It is a very necessary and an important thing for us. We have to get to know each other because we have to rely on each other." ROSE BARRACKS, Ger- many -- U.S. Army Stryker vehicle (right) and a German army tank stop to offload Troopers with 2nd Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment and German Army soldiers with Panzergrenadierbataillon 122 during a training ex- ercise March 27, 2014, at Grafenwoehr Training Area, Germany. Troopers with the Regiment and German army conducted live-fire training to sustain their combat readiness and further their historical partnership in Europe.
  4. 4. PAGE 4Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 War Eagles UpdateWar Eagles Update Soldiers with 1st Squadron, 2d Cavalry Regiment conduct training at Rose Bar- racks, Germany. The squadron returned in December from a deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 13-14. M arch was very productive for the War Eagles. 1st Squadron continued to re- set the team and develop training plans to build combat power and prepare for follow-on missions. In addition to these activities, the War Eagles conducted a variety of events to include a Spouse Apprecia- tion Luncheon, Observer /Controller /Trainer (OCT) support to the Joint Multinational Training Center (JMTC) and 173d Airborne Brigade, as well as a distinguished visitor event for Brig Gen. Peter Braunstein of the Bundeswehr. In conjunction with the War Eagle Foundation, 1st Squadron hosted a spouse appreciation luncheon in the Dragoon museum. During this event, the squadron pre- sented awards to recognize the hard work and dedication of spouses whose service distinguished them during the deployment. Twenty six of those rec- ognized received either the Command- ers Award for Patriotic Civilian Service or the Commanders Award for Out- standing Volunteer Service. An addi- tional 25 spouses received Certificates of Appreciation from the squadron commander. The War Eagle Founda- tion took charge of the decorations and set-up with a detail of War Eagles, and provided lunch for the participants. 1st Squadron selected nine Noncom- missioned Officers (NCOs) and Offi- cers to augment the JMTC Timber- wolves Observer /Controller /Trainer team in support of the 173d Airborne Brigade training rotation. 1st Squadron received positive feed- back on the knowledge and profes- sionalism of these War Eagles. These Troopers will return in time to partici- pate in the squadron ball. 2nd Platoon of Apache Troop pro- vided support to Grafenwoehr Garrison for a visit by Brig. Gen. Peter Braun- stein representative for installation management in Berlin and commander of territorial tasks of the Bundeswehr, and Lt. Col. Hans-Joachim Gehrlein, CDR, DMV (Deutche Militarishe Ver- treter /German Military Representa- tives). The purpose of the visit was to re- ceive JMTC training capabilities over- view and discuss the services avail- able to United States Army Garrison- Bavaria Soldiers. Apache Troop pro- vided Soldiers and fully equipped Stryker vehicles to facilitate mounted movement and orientation on the con- voy live-fire lanes, located East of Range 206. The German and U.S. officials dis- cussed tactical and training capabilities offered to our Soldiers, exchanged ideas on how to make this type of training more effective, discussed how JMTC and USAG-Bavaria address post traumatic stress issues, and at- tended an office call by Brig. Gen. Piatt, and the current JMTC Command Group. 1st Squadron will close out the month of March with the squadron ball to be held on March 29 at the Max Re- ager Halle, Weiden. Overwhelming support for the event resulted in 521 tickets sold. The squadron has coordinated for bus transportation to and from the event from Rose Barracks to allow Sol- diers and their spouses to relax and enjoy the evening in a safe and re- sponsible manner. Look for pictures of this great event next month!
  5. 5. PAGE 5Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Cougar UpdateCougar Update F amily and Friends of Task Force Cougar, On March 27, 2014, Task Force Cougar’s mission in support of Operation Enduring Free- dom came to an end at Forward Oper- ating Base Frontenac, Kandahar Prov- ince, Afghanistan. After seven months of hard work and determination from Eagle, Fox, and Headhunter Troops, Task Force Cou- gar turned its mission over to Task Force Destroyer, 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, from Fort Carson, Colo., who will continue to build on the Cougars’ progress and that of the units before it. The Cougars who deployed to Af- ghanistan are looking forward to some well deserved time to spend with friends and family as those who re- mained active at Rose Barracks con- tinue to support U.S. Army Europe’s mission to be ready for worldwide de- ployment in support of contingency operations. Once 2nd Squadron’s mission to Af- ghanistan is complete, we should take a moment to review the achievements of our outstanding Cougars. Thanks to train, advise, assist operations, the Afghan National Army and Afghan Na- tional Police are better trained and more capable than at any time in their histories. The Cougars have had the opportu- nity to watch with pride as the Afghan security forces took the lead on opera- tions that successfully cleared and held areas that were thought of as too dangerous to enter for many years. Throughout the last seven months, the Afghan security forces found and cleared hundreds of improvised explo- sive devices, saving the lives of many Afghans and Americans. Even while helping expand the Af- ghan government’s security area, TF Cougar returned thousands of pieces of equipment to Kandahar Airfield, where the items were shipped out for future use in other operations, saving U.S. taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. With the tremendous attention to de- tail and multi-tasking abilities of Eagle and Fox Troops, the task force trans- ferred two Combat Outposts, Pace- maker and Jannat, to the Afghan secu- rity forces, who are using those bases to protect the Afghan population from the enemies of Afghanistan. While the end of the Cougars’ mis- sion in Afghanistan represents the closing of another chapter in the squadron’s long and illustrious history, the continued commitment to training by the Troopers of the Cougar Ready Reserve show that the Cougars remain ready to defend the United States’ in- terest at all times. In closing, I’d like to express our thanks and gratitude to those of you reading this – the friends and family of TF Cougar – we would not have been as successful as we were without your steadfast support! Cougar 6 and Cougar 7 Toujours Prêt! Second to None! Lt. Col. Charles Svelan and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Spivey roll-up the 2nd Squadron, 2d Cav- alry Regiment colors, symbolizing the end of the squadron's mission in Afghanistan.
  6. 6. PAGE 6Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Wolfpack UpdateWolfpack Update F amily and friends: Spring has come in the Wolfpack area of operations and many exciting events have come along with it. This month the Wolfpack enjoyed a visit from Operation Proper Exit, con- ducted end-of-tour award ceremonies, and welcomed Task Force Destroyer into theatre. On March 13, Operation Proper Exit visited Forward Operating Base Pasab with five wounded warriors. Operation Proper Exit is a project sponsored by the Troops First Foundation. The mis- sion of this project is to provide proper closure for Soldiers that have been wounded during past tours either to Iraq or Afghanistan. This year marks the fourth trip to theatre for Operation Proper Exit. The event was particularly meaning- ful to the Soldiers in the program who had sustained their injuries just a few miles from FOB Pasab. Upon a warm welcoming at the helicopter landing zone the five wounded warriors and the accompanying party were briefed on specifics of our area of operation and unclassified details of our past and current operations. When the wounded warriors arrived at the event location they were re- ceived with a standing ovation by over 300 people to include members from TF Wolfpack and civilian contractors. All five members shared their stories of sustaining injuries and how they dealt with the change in their lives. It was a moving experience to see how resilient the Soldiers are and to hear each of them express how glad they were to be with us, and how much they wish they could be back in the fight Throughout the month of March, each of our Troops conducted a cere- mony to recognize Soldiers for all the hard work, dedication and sacrifices made throughout the deployment. Time in theatre is growing short, but Wolfpack is taking full advantage of every opportunity to positively influ- ence the area of operations before leaving. The replacement unit, Task Force Destroyer, arrived in March all the way from Fort Carson, Colo. In addition to normal operations, TF Wolfpack has the responsibility to assist the incoming unit in their preparation to assume the area of operations. The Soldiers of the Wolfpack have accomplished much in Southern Af- ghanistan in support of Operation En- during Freedom 13-14 and are happy to have had the opportunity to do so. ALWAYS READY! WOLFPACK! A Soldier with the 3rd Brigade, 205th Corps Afghan National Army renders a salute during a graduation ceremony.
  7. 7. PAGE 7Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Saber UpdateSaber Update S aber Friends and Family, it’s with great pride and enthusi- asm that I deliver this final installment of the deployed version of our Dragoon Newsletter. I have great pride in all that Task Force Saber has accomplished during this deployment and great enthusiasm for the upcoming reunion with our loved ones. Nine months ago we started on what in all likelihood will be the final chapter of the 2d Cavalry Regiment’s contribution to the global War on Terror. Our Regiment has served the United States honorably from the early Indian Wars through the World Wars and in both Iraq and Af- ghanistan. Now we prepare to return home successful in our endeavors, mindful of our sacrifices and grateful for the support we have received from those we love. Every member of TF Saber played a critical role in the overwhelming suc- cess of our recent mission to secure the area around Kandahar Airfield and to maintain stability in a critical area of Kandahar Province. We accomplished our mission by applying relentless pressure to Taliban fighters in the area and by supporting the efforts of the Soldiers who advised the Afghan Na- tional Army. Because of the constant, never-stop, never-fail efforts our Soldiers put in, we achieved the longest stretch without a rocket attack on KAF since 2007. To be clear, that is not because the en- emy stopped trying. On the contrary, we have faced a hardened, deter- mined, and opportunistic enemy during these last nine months. But, if not for the 24 hour-days, 7-day a week reconnaissance patrolling that the Troopers of TF Saber executed, there surely would have been a dozen or so more attacks – each with the in- tention of killing Americans on KAF. TF Saber conducted over 5,000 indi- vidual combat patrols covering over 140,000 miles. Although there aren’t odometers on our Soldiers boots, I can guarantee that there was a LOT of miles walked as well. In fact, our dismounted patrols were responsible for finding caches of rockets and anti-personnel mines that were intended to maim and kill our Sol- diers. During this deployment, our Sol- diers discovered multiple caches and discovered IEDs in the roads. Some of the IEDs we found, and some found us. We endured two separate suicide vest attacks on our Soldiers. But for the actions of Staff Sgt. Frank of Nemesis Troop, one of those attacks could have been catastrophic. He was awarded the Bronze Star with “V” for his actions in stopping the suicide bomber from getting inside the perime- ter. However, Soldiers were still in- jured that day. Overall we have presented dozens of Soldiers with the Purple Heart Medal as a result of wounds they received from enemy action, such is war. Thankfully, despite all of the enemy’s attempts, all of our Soldiers have or will shortly be able to return home to their families. Though we remember with gratitude the Sabers who sacri- ficed all in previous deployments, we are thankful that we are bringing all Sabers home following this deploy- ment. Despite the enemy’s actions, this was not by any stretch a one-sided fight. TF Saber had enormous suc- cess against the Taliban in the Dand and Daman Districts. We were suc- cessful in targeting and killing 10 Tali- ban fighters and cell leaders. We as- sisted in detaining over 20 other named targets. The effects of our Sol- diers efforts are clear. The fewest rockets fired in more than 7 years and an enemy who is fearful for its own survival knowing that we were hunting him. As we prepare to leave, our bags packed, our containers being shipped home, we are mindful of what work remains and the upcoming elections. We have passed the baton to the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry Regiment who will carry on the work after us. Soon Afghanistan will hold national elections for a new president. The successful conclusion of those elections will mark the first time in 2,000 years that national power has transferred peacefully in Afghanistan. Kandahar is an important part of that, and TF Saber has been an important part of security for Kandahar. The legacy truly continues. See you back in Bavaria and save a cold Helles for each of us! Saber 6 Lt. Col. Christopher Budihas addresses Task Force Saber Soldiers following a combat awards ceremony.
  8. 8. PAGE 8Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Artillery Hell ReturnsArtillery Hell Returns
  9. 9. PAGE 9Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Muleskinner UpdateMuleskinner Update I t’s the final push for Task Force Muleskinner in Afghanistan, sup- porting Operation Enduring Free- dom 13-14. As Lt. Col. Kenneth C. Bradford, commander of Task Muleskinner, transfers authority to Lt. Col. Michael D. Egan, commander of Task Force Blacksmiths, we take a minute to look back at the unit’s accomplishments over the past 9 months of combat op- erations, revealing the Muleskinners have a lot about which to be proud. We would like to take a minute and highlight each troop’s accomplish- ments before we are reunited with our friends and Families in Rose Barracks. The Packhorse and Alpha Troops Convoy Security Teams conducted missions throughout Regional Com- mand-South. These missions brought supplies to Soldiers living on outlying bases in concurrence with the mission of retro- grading excess material and supplies from the bases back to Kandahar Air- field for turn-in or disposal. During their deployment, the troops completed over 190 missions covering more than 20,000 kilometers of battle space carrying much needed classes of supply to the Soldiers of Combined Task Force Dragoon. The retrograde distribution team identified over 1,200 containers of ex- cess equipment and 300 pieces of roll- ing stock for removal off bases across Regional Command-South for CTF Dragoon. The Sappers of Engineer Troop com- pleted their mission of Combined Arms Breach-Team (CAB-T) operations, conducting over 150 missions while clearing over 16,000 kilometers, pro- viding freedom of maneuver for numer- ous named operations and logistic movement across southern Afghani- stan. The Vipers of Regimental Headquar- ters and Headquarters Troop, in addi- tion to enabling CTF Dragoon mission command, also provided the Regiment with real time intelligence through Shadow Unmanned Aerial System op- erations. They completed over 1,000 flights in support of combat operations totaling over 9,000 hours of flight time. The Hellraisers of Headquarters and Headquarters Troop supported the Regiment with its medical platoon, maintenance platoon and support op- erations office. The medical platoon ran the Role 1 Aid Station on Kandahar Airfield see- ing over 3,000 patients from not only CTF Dragoon, but adjacent units and agencies. The maintenance platoon completed over 12,000 work orders during com- bat operations to include electronic and missile, armament, ground support equipment and wheeled vehicle ser- vices and repairs. The support operations shop distrib- uted essential classes of supply across the battle space coordinating both ground and air movements for CTF Dragoon during their 9 months of com- bat operations. Task Force Muleskinner would also like to take a moment to thank their Family Readiness Groups for the tre- mendous support they provided during the deployment. Our accomplishment would not have been possible without their constant support through letters, phone calls, Skype calls, care packages and wel- come home planning. We look forward to reuniting at the end of this month and cannot wait to enjoy some much deserved time at home with friends and Families. Until then, take care and see you soon! Combined Task Force Dragoon Soldiers re- ceive their deployment awards on Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan. The Soldier's returned home after a 9-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 13-14.
  10. 10. PAGE 10Dragoon NewsletterVOLUME 4, ISSUE 3 Around the RegimentAround the Regiment Soldiers with the 2d Cavalry Regiment were inducted into the Sergeant Morales and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club on Kan- dahar Airfield, Afghanistan on March 07, 2014. Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Brady, Staff Sgt. Mark Mizell and Staff Sgt. Elvis Servellon were inducted into the Sergeant Morales Club and Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Butcher, Staff Sgt. Erik Castillo, Staff Sgt. Matthew Morin, Sgt. Patrick Bonett and Sgt. Kelly Leaper were inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. Troopers with the 2d Cavalry Regiment are welcomed during a ceremony upon returning from a combat deployment in Afghanistan March 23, 2014, at Rose Barracks Germany. (U.S. Army Photo by Sgt. Joshua Edwards) Regional Command South Soldiers join together for a prayer breakfast on Kandahar Airfield, March 12, 2014. The Soldiers came together to meet and pray to build spirituality. Chaplain (LTC) Steve Peck, NATO Special Operations Component Command-Afghanistan and Special Operations Joint Task Force- Afghanistan command chaplain was the guest speaker.