Looking ahead to 2018- We never have to look far for a unit that suffered hardship during deployment. As a lifetime civilian, I try to imagine what these etched out times in a young person’s life must be like. Knowing that my imagination is barely able to grasp the harsh reality that lies within these experiences, one thing always amazes me… life on the other side. If you have ever spent time with a combat vet you know that on the outside they are no different from most. They have families to care for, jobs to go to, friends to socialize with, and all the things that we do. On the inside they have seen and experienced things that, like me, we can’t fathom. Reunions are a time for all that inside “stuff” to be external. It comes out in tears, laughter, name-calling, story telling, and guards being let down. All that being said, we are thrilled to be planning a June 2018 reunion with the men of 3-71 CAV (2006-2007) . It will be their first time together in a decade and we can not wait for them to be together again.
I have spoken to Jeremiah Ridgeway who was part of this unit. He has reached out to his brothers and things are beginning to form. The following is his response to my request to summarize that deployment. I am well aware that describing a year of hell, fear, loss, loneliness, and all the other things that come with deployment is hard to describe in a couple of paragraphs, but I think he did a great job, and wrapped up nicely with a quote from Captain Ross Berkoff:
“The Squadrons troops shared moments of hardship, grief, joy and terror. This served to bring them close to one another and to view each other as not just fellow Soldiers but true brothers.” Here is his entire synopsis:
3-71 Cavalry Squadron’s deployment began in January of 2006. The unit operated in the southern area of RC East in Afghanistan mainly based out of FOB Salerno,supporting multiple operations including Operation Mountain Lion. At the end of Operation Mountain Lion, the Unit suffered 4 casualties during an EXFIL when the UH-47 Chinook carrying them and 6 crew members crashed. After the “Spring Offensive” began to subside 3-71 was moved north the establish FOB Naray.
Once the initial push to Naray was complete in May of 2006 and the FOB was well established three other smaller camps were established; Kemdesh, Gowardes