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
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.
TASK FORCE IRON GRAY - Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA)
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!
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.
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!
TASK FORCE AVALANCHE - Operation Spartan Shield - Southwest Asia
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.
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.
Now they finish their demobilization at Fort Bliss, Texas, before heading home. Congratulations to these fine Soldiers on a job well done.
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,