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ALPINE SUMMIT DEPLOYMENT UPDATE - 86TH IBCT (MTN)

With the holiday season approaching, I want to take this time to reflect on the past 8 months overseas and express the gratitude and pride I have for serving alongside each Task Force Iron Gray Soldier.

I know how difficult it can be to be away from home during the holiday season, and for some of our Soldiers it is their first holiday away, but Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers are protecting our great nation’s assets and personnel which allows our families and friends to enjoy their freedom. I have a deep appreciation and respect for each Soldier’s service here and the patriotism, professionalism, and growth they have shown during this deployment.

Although Task Force Iron Gray is preparing to transfer authority over to Task Force Red Dragon to continue the security forces mission here in East Africa, our Soldiers have made a positive impact in our area of responsibility. We have had the fortunate opportunity to enhance partnerships with our allied partners, excel in our jobs and Soldier skills, and improve the security of the region.

I want to thank each Task Force Iron Gray Soldier for their dedication to this mission, as well as all the Soldiers from the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team who are spread across the globe, making a positive impact and writing another chapter in our history.

Lastly, I want to extend my appreciation to our Soldiers’ friends and families for all their unwavering support. As you all enjoy your holidays, know that your Soldiers are not alone, as we are an Army family. We all look forward to seeing you once our mission is complete.

I wish each of you and yours a blessed holiday season.

LTC Frank A. Tantillo

Commander, Task Force Iron Gray, 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (MTN)

1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment - Operation Inherent Resolve - USCENTCOM

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment

1st Battalion, 101st Field Artillery Regiment started November with Soldiers participating in the German Armed Forces Badge of Marksmanship, otherwise known as the Schützenschnur, and ended with an Enlisted vs. Officer Thanksgiving Day 'Turkey Bowl' game. We are thankful for the Army family we are deployed with, and continue missing our loved ones back home while we serve our country overseas.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion 101st Field Artillery Regiment transit to and participate in the German Armed Forces Badge of Marksmanship during their deployment to the U.S. Central Command.
Soldiers from 1-101 FAR play in an Officer vs. Enlisted Turkey Bowl football game on Thanksgiving. Visit the @B BTRY 1-101st Field Artillery, 86th IBCT - Mountain Facebook page to see who won!

TASK FORCE IRON GRAY - Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA)

Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers - Follow us on Facebook @TaskForceIronGray

Happy Holidays! We had an outstanding Thanksgiving with our Army families, and are looking forward to the hand-over-take-over process with the new unit taking our spot in the near future, and eventually back to our loved ones!

Senior leaders from the Connecticut Army National Guard enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 25, 2021. During a two-day visit, Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, The Adjutant General, Connecticut; Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Sicard, State Command Sergeant Major; and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brian Erkson, Command Chief Warrant Officer, met with Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers and recognized them for their hard work and achievements during the task force's mobilization to the Horn of Africa. Task Force Iron Gray provides security for Camp Lemonnier and several forward operating bases in the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Amanda Stock).

We were honored to be joined for two days, including on Thanksgiving Day, by the Adjutant General of Connecticut, Maj. Gen. Francis Evon; the State Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Sicard and the Command Chief Warrant Officer, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brian Erkson. Most of Task Force Iron Gray calls Connecticut home. Senior leaders met with Soldiers and recognized their hard work and achievements during the unit's mobilization to the Horn of Africa.

Senior leaders from the Connecticut Army National Guard enjoy Thanksgiving dinner with Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Nov. 25, 2021. During a two-day visit, Maj. Gen. Francis Evon, The Adjutant General, Connecticut; Command Sgt. Maj. Roger Sicard, State Command Sergeant Major; and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Brian Erkson, Command Chief Warrant Officer, met with Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers and recognized them for their hard work and achievements during the task force's mobilization to the Horn of Africa. Task Force Iron Gray provides security for Camp Lemonnier and several forward operating bases in the Horn of Africa. (U.S. Army photos by Staff Sgt. Amanda Stock).

While in the midst of the holiday season, Task Force Iron Gray Soldiers look forward to returning home but are soaking up all the opportunities with the time they have left. Stand Forth, Iron Grays!

3rd Battalion 172nd Infantry (Mountain)

TASK FORCE AVALANCHE - Operation Spartan Shield - Southwest Asia

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche have finished their mission in various locations across the U.S. Central Command, and are on their way to reuniting with their loved ones. It was a historic mission filled with a variety of challenges for each Soldier. Soldiers remained flexible and agile to the ever changing needs, and we couldn't be prouder of each and every member of Task Force Avalanche. They will be home for Christmas, and have earned every minute they will soon have with their family and friends.

Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan.

Task Force Avalanche has been deployed since March throughout seven different countries across the U.S. Central Command. Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche were part of the initial stages of evacuations in Afghanistan and remained involved all the way through their deployment. Task Force Avalanche was the only unit involved on both ends of the Afghanistan evacuation efforts.

Maj. Gen. Greg Knight, the Adjutant General for the Vermont National Guard, addresses Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche at Fort Bliss, Texas, in November. Soldiers from Task Force Avalanche are demobilizing prior to returning home.

Now they finish their demobilization at Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading home. Congratulations to these fine Soldiers on a job well done.

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KFOR29 - Regional Command - East -Operation Joint Guardian - Kosovo

Regional Command - East hosted a variety of VIPs during the month of November highlighted by the Chief, National Guard Bureau, Daniel Hokanson. We also held the Best Mountain Warrior Competition, highlighting Soldiering and basic mountaineering skills, continued patrols of the administrative boundary line, continued relationship building in Kosovo communities through our Liaison Monitoring Teams,

Gen. Daniel Hokanson, Chief, National Guard Bureau, and Mrs. Kelly Hokanson, pose for a picture after a lunch with Soldiers that are part of Sisters-In-Arms - an Army mentorship program developed for Soldiers to openly discuss, teach, coach, and learn from one another about the Army.
COL Brey Hopkins, Commander of Regional Command - East, helps to serve Thanksgiving dinner at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, November 25, 2021.
U.S. and multinational Soldiers with KFOR 29 Regional Command - East participated in the 85th Manchester Road Race while deployed to Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, November 25, 2021. The Thanksgiving race is 4.748 miles long and was first run in Manchester, Connecticut.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Francis J. Evon, Connecticut Adjutant General, and Senior Enlisted Advisor, U.S. Army Command Sergeant Major Roger P. Sicard met with their deployed troops in Kosovo who are supporting the NATO KFOR mission. The Connecticut soldiers received letters of commendation and coins to honor their exceptional contributions during both the Kosovo wildfires and the overall KFOR mission.
U.S. Army Soldiers of the 1st Squadron, 172nd Regiment and the Latvian Wolf Coy, Maneuver Battalion, Kosovo Force Regional Command-East conduct medical evacuation training in Kosovo over the course of several days in November. This training tests both the tactical lifesaving skills and the ability to coordinate with air assets.
U.S., Latvian, Polish, and Turkish Soldiers participated in the Best Mountain Warrior Competition on Camp Bondsteel and Mount Ljuboten, Kosovo. The competition included a timed hike, a written test, a board, and stations testing various mountain Soldier skills like knot tying.

To view all the photos and videos coming out of Kosovo please visit our DVIDS page here: https://www.dvidshub.net/feature/KFOR29. You can also follow us on social media on Facebook @KFORRCEast and Instagram @KFOR.RCE.