34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade to Return Home

October 19, 2020 (ST. PAUL, Minnesota) – Nearly 700 soldiers from the Minnesota National Guard’s St. Paul-based 34th Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade are returning home this week after a year deployed in support of Operation Spartan Shield and Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Task Force Red Devils operated in a volatile environment at the beginning of the deployment,” said Col. Gregory Fix, the brigade commander.

The ECAB faced significant rocket attacks at Camp Taji, Iraq. On March 11 and 14, 2020, dozens of rockets impacted Camp Taji leaving two U.S. and one Coalition service member killed in action. Spc. Juan Mendez Covarrubias, signal support systems specialist assigned to the 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, serving under the 34th ECAB, was among them.

“Our Soldiers and Airmen continued supporting the mission through injury and loss of life, and transitioning through uncertainties to include COVID-19. And they always accomplished the mission,” said Fix.

The ECAB’s mission to assist Iraqi Security Forces in their fight against Daesh by providing attack and lift capabilities to partner forces continued. Due to the success of the Iraqi Security Forces against Daesh, many bases, including Camp Taji, were returned to the Government of Iraq as the need for Coalition support lessened. Additionally Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve called on the 34th ECAB to lead and complete the closing of Camp Taji and return it to the Government of Iraa. This is historic as the 34th ECAB opened Taji in late 2014 as the Operation Inherent Resolve mission developed. The Brigade took on a tremendous job and was completed by34th Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 147th Assault Helicopter Battalion and the 834th Aviation Support Battalion.

The brigade deployed as a multi-state Army National Guard Expeditionary Combat Aviation Brigade including soldiers from units in Iowa, Ohio, Oklahoma, Nevada, New Hampshire, Michigan, Mississippi, and Montana. While deployed, the brigade stoodup as an aviation task force comprised of Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve soldiers along with Coalition forces from Spain and Italy.

Media members interested in sharing the story of returning soldiers this week should contact the Minnesota National Guard public affairs office at 651-282-4410 or mn.ng.web@mail.mil.