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Colorado Army National Guard aviation unit home from Afghanistan 
By Colorado National Guard Public Affairs 
CH-47 
Two CH-47 Chinook helicopters from Colorado Army National Guard’s Company B, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation prepare to land in the Colorado mountains. (Photo by Colorado National Guard/Released)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CONTACT:
Army National Guard Sgt. Aaron Rognstad
720-933-0374

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (5/30/12) – Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and other dignitaries will welcome home nearly 70 Colorado Army National Guardsmen at 2 p.m. today.

The welcome home ceremony for Soldiers of Detachment 1, Company B, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo.

The unit was mobilized for a total of 12 months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom XI and XII.

Company B is the Colorado Army National Guard’s heavy lift helicopter unit, which operates CH-47 Chinook helicopters.

The detachment deployed with a sister unit from Nebraska, and trained at Fort Hood, Texas, prior to serving in Afghanistan. While deployed, the unit was based in Kandahar and surrounding bases, and spent the year transporting troops and cargo throughout the country.

"We are so proud to welcome home these Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers," said Hickenlooper. "A one-year deployment is a tremendous sacrifice for each soldier and his or her family here at home. We also remember the ultimate sacrifice paid by one member of this unit. Chief Warrant Officer David Carter died a hero and we will be forever grateful for his service to our country and to the Colorado Army National Guard

"These Soldiers deserve a hero's welcome," said Maj. Gen. H. Michael Edwards, Adjutant General of Colorado.”They performed superbly during their tour in Afghanistan. I couldn't be more proud of their outstanding accomplishments. The loss of CW5 David Carter came as a terrible blow to us all, but I am committed to supporting the healing process in any way possible." 

The unit was initially stationed at Forward Operating Base Shank and FOB Salerno, located in Regional Command East and Kandahar Airfield in RC South.

The detachment performed a variety of combat missions ranging from general support, which included transporting equipment from FOB to FOB across RCs South and East, to tactical air assault operations, which involved assisting other units in removing numerous Taliban insurgents from the battlefield.

Throughout the deployment, the Colorado Army National Guardsmen flew more than 6,000 flight hours, transported more than 48,000 troops, and moved more than 6.5 million pounds of cargo. 

The unit was under the command of four different Army Aviation units including the 10th Mountain Division, 101st Airborne Division, 82nd Aviation Division, and the 25th Aviation Division.

While deployed, the unit suffered its only combat loss when Chief Warrant Officer 4 Dave Carter was killed in action. He was among 30 service members who were killed Aug. 6, 2011, in Wardak province, Afghanistan, as a result of enemy fire.

During the 10 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Colorado National Guard Soldiers and Airmen have deployed more than 6,000 times while maintaining state emergency response capabilities and supporting 24/7/365 homeland defense missions.

For Assignment Editors: Media interested in attending must confirm with Sgt. Aaron Rognstad at 720-933-0374.  In order to enter Buckley Air Force Base, media must enter at the Mississippi Avenue gate (just east of the Tower Road and Mississippi Avenue intersection) NO LATER THAN 1 p.m. and go through the commercial vehicle inspection area.  Media representatives will be required to provide their drivers' licenses, vehicle registration and proof of insurance. Media will be escorted to and from the event by convoy.

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5/30/2012