By Tech. Sgt. Mark Olsen, NJDMAVA/PA, Photo by Maj. Mark Preston, 150th GSAB
As part of the mounting involvement of the New Jersey Army National Guard in worldwide military operations, 19 members of the 1st Battalion, 150th Aviation deployed to Bosnia - Herzegovina as part of Task Force Pegasus from Sept. 21, 2001, through April 6, 2002.
The 15 men and four women who deployed were cross-section of the unit: pilots, communications, cook, flight operations, base security, ammunition handlers and refuelers. The 150th troops were part a task force of 359 soldiers and aviators (69 percent National Guard, 30 percent active duty, and percent Reserve) from 10 states and four activeduty posts. Task Force Pegasus was the first multicomponent, multi-functional Aviation Battalion under National Guard command.
With just three weeks of collective training, the team was deployed to Camp Comanche, located approximately six miles from Tuzla. For the next eight months, Task Force Pegasus provided 24/7 aviation operational support throughout Bosnia - Herzegovina. They flew more than 5,700 flight hours and transported 3,967 passengers; maintained the highest Operational Readiness Rate of the US Army (90 percent); conducted more than 650 aerial reconnaissance and air movement operations; and participated in several multi-component and multinational operational missions in support of the Multi- National Division (North) and the General Framework of Peace (Dayton Peace Accords) including successful raids on illegal weapons caches and the roundup of terrorists. The unit also participated in more than 75 humanitarian support operations to local refugee camps and area schools.
Because of their successes, Task Force Pegasus received numerous accolades from I Corps Aviation Safety and Standardization Detachment during the Aviation Operational Readiness and Standardization Evaluation that was held during the deployment.