The Soldiers of B Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division culminated months of training Sunday as they boarded aircraft headed to Cameroon.
This occasion marks the first time the 101st Airborne Division will boots on ground in Cameroon.
“The patch on your arm represents the 101st Airborne,” said Col. Alan Boyer, commander, 1st BCT, speaking to the troops just prior to their departure. “It represents history, our unit, our traditions and our reputation. When you’re on ground, you will represent the United States of America and the U.S. Army.”
Bastogne Soldiers will be working in northern Cameroon alongside the Cameroonian Air Force, the Department of State, nongovernment organizations and host-nation partners to provide force protection and enable security in the region by expanding positive relationships. “You will not believe the impact you have on the country and the people of the nation,” Boyer said. “Part of our job as American Soldiers is to build people up and make them better. You will do that.”
Lieutenant Col. Buddy Ferris, commander of 1-506th Inf. Regt., described the training and preparation Co. B went through prior to this deployment.
“They went through a very intense training glide path,” he said. “Moving all the way from individual training through company live fires, to a culminating validation exercise where they saw a wide range of problems and realistic role-players.”
Captain Steven Gilbert, company commander of B Co., 1-506th Inf. Regt., said his Soldiers were excited and ready to take on this unique mission. He looks forward to leading them through a safe and successful mission.
Over the next year, Bastogne Soldiers will help improve readiness, promote interoperability, build capacity and strengthen partner relationships on the continent of Africa.
1st BCT is the Regionally Aligned Force supporting U.S. Army Africa events and exercises across the African continent this year. USARAF brings the Army team to assist U.S. partners in building ready forces and operating as part of a multinational coalition.
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