Fort Drum aviation battalion, ‘Task Force Dragon,’ earns top award from U.S. Army


The 10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment (Task Force Dragon) earned the distinction as the Army’s top aviation battalion with the presentation of the 2020 Lt. Gen. Ellis D. Parker award June 15 at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield. (photo: Sgt. Michael Wilson)

FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — A combat aviation brigade task force from Fort Drum has earned a top award from the United States Army.

Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division announced on Wednesday that the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade’s 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, “Task Force Dragon,” has earned the distinction as the Army’s top aviation battalion. The aviation battalion was awarded on June 15 at the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield and presented the 202 Lieutenant General Ellis D. Parker award.

The ceremony presentation gathered senior leaders, colleagues, guests and was led by 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Commander Colonel Travis McIntosh.

“Welcome to Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, home of the world’s premier Army aviation brigade,” stated Col. McIntosh. “We are glad to host this ceremony and happy that we get to show off the Army’s best aviation battalion of 2020. These Soldiers’ dedication to service, tactical and technical proficiency and genuine professionalism has earned them the distinction of the Ellis D. Parker Outstanding Aviation Unit of the Year Award.”

The award presented to the 10th CAB acknowledged the battalion’s accomplishments during a 10-month deployment to Afghanistan as Task Force Dragon. This included soldiers from the second battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment and six units from the National Guard.

Task Force Dragon is credited with maintaining 24-hour combat operations in support of 15 combat and advisory units across 10 provinces in Afghanistan.

According to Fort Drum, soldiers executed 100 engagements and 150 air assaults, and flew over 13,000 hours. Task Force Dragon operated 58 aircraft on seven different bases to meet operation demands.

U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence Commander and Former 10th CAB Commander Major General David J. Francis presented the award and expressed his pride.

“The 10th Mountain Division leadership should be very proud for this recognition, especially given the size and scope of the mission that Task Force Dragon had,” shared Major General Francis. “I know firsthand the rich tradition and history of this brigade, and it is an honor to be here.”

The Ellis D. Parker award is a multi-component Department of the Army-level award that recognizes excellence at the battalion level.

“This award looks at leadership, training, maintenance and safety in competing units across the aviation enterprise,” added Francis. “The review panel looks at each unit by category and then selects the organization that is clearly above the rest as an overall selection. It is clear to me why you won, not just the combat unit of the year, but the overall award for aviation excellence.”

It is presented annually to the best combat, top combat support, combat service support and table of distribution and allowances battalions, before selecting the best overall aviation battalion.

A full livestream of the ceremony can be found on the 10th Mountain Division’s Facebook page.

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