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2nd HBCT cases colors
Six 'Spartan' units set to deploy this week
Col. Charles “Chuck” Sexton salutes 5,400 of his soldiers during a pass and review on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field on Friday. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
Eight flags swayed in the breeze Friday afternoon as nearly 5,400 troops stood on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field, ready to bid farewell to the installation and their families for nearly 12 months.
Members of the 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat team cased six unit colors, the brigade’s flag and the American flag as family members watched from the stands, cheering and hollering for their loved ones.
 “Today constitutes the beginning of this deployment,” Col. Chuck Sexton said to the crowd, “ … Let me assure you that your soldiers are the best prepared that they have been in years. In my opinion … you have the best brigade in the United States Army.”
The bugle sounded attention as the brigade’s commander of troops leaped across the field, signifying the units’ cohesiveness. Next, the brigade’s chaplain offered a prayer. 
“Lord, after months of training, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team stands ready to deploy,” Maj. Sid Taylor said. “Our prayer request is that you sustain us, mentally, spiritually, socially and physically … so that we can execute our mission in Iraq.”
The “Spartan” brigade will officially deploy to Iraq this week, where there
mission will be to advise and assist Iraqi security forces.
“We’ll still be taking action, but our main focus will be to help the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police become more proficient so that they can act as the true sovereign nation that they are,” Sexton said.
Nearly 65 percent of the 2nd HBCT has never been deployed, according to the colonel.
For the others, he said, it will be their third or fourth tour of duty in the country.
“The faster we get it over with, the faster we get home to our families in coastal Georgia,” Sexton told the brigade.
Candace Rogers, who came out to support her husband and the Spartan soldiers, said she could not believe the time had come to say good bye.
“It’s surreal,” she said. “I think I am still in shock, but I am very proud of them and I am happy they are prepared. To them I say, ‘God Speed and hurry home.’”

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