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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | Jan. 11, 2024

Oklahoma Guard aviation unit trains for deployment to Kosovo

By Story by Cpl. Danielle Rayon, Video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck, Oklahoma National Guard


“I’m very proud and honored to be here with those guys and couldn’t have picked a better team to be here with.”.Capt. Jimmy Norvell, commander, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment


 
FORT CAVAZOS, Texas – Nearly 50 Oklahoma Army National Guard Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, are undergoing mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian (KFOR).

01:15
VIDEO | 01:15 | Oklahoma Guard aviation unit trains for deployment to Kosovo
The deployment aims to provide mission support for the Georgia Army National Guard’s 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team and contribute to the NATO-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo, comprised of 27 partner nations.
 
Equipped with UH-60M helicopters, 244th Soldiers focus on job-specific training while being evaluated by members of the U.S. Army’s First Army, a mobilization, readiness and training command. Once overseas, the 244th will execute various missions, including air transport and air assault operations.

Soldiers with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia National Guard and 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard conduct hot load training with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240109-Z-IN656-1005 Soldiers with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia National Guard and 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard conduct hot load training with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
A Soldier with Echo Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard watches a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter take off at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 10, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240110-Z-IN656-1012 A Soldier with Echo Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard watches a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter take off at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 10, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
Soldiers with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard and 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard conduct hot load training with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240109-Z-IN656-1006 Soldiers with the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Georgia Army National Guard and 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard conduct hot load training with a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard perform maintenance on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240109-Z-IN656-1002 Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard perform maintenance on a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard perform maintenance on a UH-60 Black Hawk at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
SLIDESHOW | images | 240109-Z-IN656-1001 Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion (Assault Helicopter Battalion), 244th Aviation Regiment, 90th Troop Command, Oklahoma Army National Guard perform maintenance on a UH-60 Black Hawk at Fort Cavazos, Texas, Jan. 9, 2024. The 244th AHB underwent rigorous pre-mobilization training in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kosovo in support of Operation Joint Guardian. (Oklahoma National Guard photo by Cpl. Danielle Rayon)
“We’re doing a lot of different missions and a lot of maintenance, so it prepares us to go overseas and do what we need to do,” said Staff Sgt. Colton Scantlen, a UH-60 helicopter repairer with the 244th AHB.



The battalion is conducting various training activities to enhance their readiness, including basic soldier skills, medical training, aircraft maintenance, sling loading and refueling.

“It’s a big high-intensity mission for maintenance and training,” Scantlen said. “A lot of these new guys will get a feel for it and be able to get a lot of good quality training out of this mission, because that’s what we’re going to do every day.”

Despite the rigorous training schedule, the Soldiers of the 244th AHB remain positive about the challenges of the upcoming deployment.

“Everybody is very excited,” said Capt. Jimmy Norvell, commander of Charlie Company, 1-244th. “They’re somewhat nervous, and this is some people’s first deployment, but they’re looking forward to it and they’re ready to get after it.”

In addition to solidifying the technical skills required for the mission, this mobilization training fosters collaboration between units, emphasizing the significance of building relationships before going overseas and fostering a sense of camaraderie and mutual support.

“It helps build that friendship and that relationship between the two units,” Scantlen said. “That way when we do go overseas, we don’t have to worry about anything over there. They know they can rely on us and we can rely on them.”

Leaders expressed confidence in the Soldiers' abilities, highlighting the high morale and excitement among the troops as they gear up for the unique challenges of their deployment.

“I’m 100% confident that the Soldiers here will be able to execute their mission,” Norvell said. “I’m very proud and honored to be here with those guys and couldn’t have picked a better team to be here with.”
Video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck
Oklahoma Guard conducts annual Mechanic of the Year competition
Oklahoma National Guard
Feb. 7, 2024 | 1:36
Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen gathered to test their mechanical skills at the third annual Mechanic of the Year competition held at the Combined Support Maintenance Shop in Norman, Oklahoma, Feb. 7, 2024. (Oklahoma National Guard video by Staff Sgt. Reece Heck)

CG Information:
Chief Warrant Officer 4 Rocky Anderson
President of the Mechanic of the Year Board
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