pic via Virginia Guard Public Affairs

The first wave of helicopter crews from the Virginia National Guard’s 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment departed the Army Aviation Support Facility in Sandston Feb. 26 to begin moving their helicopters to Fort Hood, Texas. The unit conducted a departure ceremony Feb. 25 to mark the official start of the unit’s federal active duty service in Iraq, and approximately 400 Soldiers are scheduled to report to Fort Hood, Texas to conduct mobilization training for approximately one to two months before deploying overseas. Once they arrive in Iraq, they will conduct their normal missions which include troop air assault and air movement, casualty evacuation, aerial re-supply and any other requested aviation missions.The battalion, also known as “The Punishers,” is organized into three flight companies with a total of 30 Black Hawk helicopters along with a maintenance company, headquarters company and forward support company. Of the 400 Soldiers mobilizing, approximately 75 are from the Maryland National Guard’s Company C, and small detachments from Companies D and E, as well as the headquarters company of 2nd Battalion, 224th Aviation Regiment. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)