By Staff Sgt. Garrett Ralston
Troop F, 2nd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment arrived Nov. 26 at Contingency Operating Site Delta in southeastern Iraq, to begin conducting missions in support of Operation New Dawn.
Soldiers of the Army's "Only Armored Cavalry Regiment," are deployed across southern Iraq conducting advise and assist missions with Iraqi Security Forces and are now joined by their fellow Soldiers of Fox Troop.
"Fox Troop is here to train and work alongside the Wasit Iraqi Police Forces and enable our Stability and Transition Teams," said Capt. Gerardo Menal, commander of Troop F, from San Antonio. "Past deployments were more of a kinetic fight."
When most of the regiment deployed to Iraq in August, Fox Troop was assigned to rear detachment duties at Fort Hood, Texas. The troop was brought forward to provide more support to 2nd Squadron's mission in Wasit Province. Once given the order, Fox Troop gathered its Soldiers and equipment, and after only hours in an airplane, the unit had arrived, ready to get started.
Early the next day, Soldiers began unpacking all the equipment they had brought on the flight. A wide range of tactical vehicles and other equipment had to be inspected and signed over to Fox Troop from those already on COS Delta.
"We have a lot of preparation and setup to do right now," said Pfc. Zephaniah Martinez, a cavalry scout from Topeka, KS, deployed for the first time. "I like it so far, and I am proud to be here with Fox Troop."
Some members of Fox Troop have seen the regiment, and even the troop itself, come full circle in the last seven years. Fox Troop has been at the center of combat operations in Iraq for years and now takes on this new mission with the same professionalism and dedication.
"This is my fourth deployment with Fox Troop to Iraq," said 1st Sgt. Gary Villalobos, first sergeant of Troop F, originally from Santa Maria, CA. "We're here now in a strictly support role. Before we leave, we have to ensure the Iraqis have a good hold on things."
Despite having only been in Iraq for 24 hours, the Soldiers of Fox Troop were motivated and getting into the swing of a new mission in a new environment.
"Fox Troop will assist Iraqi Security Forces so that they can operate on their own," said Menal. "There will be an Iraqi presence attached to everything we do."