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'Cottonbalers' get new leader
jp trooping the line
Brigade Commander Col. John Charlton and Lt. Cols. Douglas Crissman and Gregory Sierra follow the centuries-old military tradition of trooping the line of the 2-7 infantry battalion. - photo by Joe Parker Jr. / Coastal Courier
The annual summer shuffle of military commands and assignments began here Thursday with Lt. Col. Gregory Sierra taking over one of the Army's most historic units, the Second Battalion of the Seventh Regiment of infantry.
Lt. Col. Douglas Crissman, outgoing commander of the 2-7 IN, is becoming operations officer of the Third Infantry Division. First Brigade Combat Team commander Col. John Charlton, speaker at the Cottrell Field ceremony, noted that Crissman brought home safely every single one of the battalion's 900 soldiers after service in some of the toughest areas of Iraq.
The 7th Regiment traces its rich history to the War of 1812 when it fought under Andrew Jackson against the British in the battle of New Orleans. The soldiers fired from the shelter of stacked cotton bales, earning their nickname of "Cottonbalers."
In 2002 a delegation from New Orleans came to Fort Stewart to officially proclaim the regiment "New Orleans' Own," in recognition of the soldiers' role in their history.
 The story of the 7th Infantry is a list of famous battles of American combat arms: the Alamo, San Juan Hill, Little Big Horn, the Rock of the Marne River (literally,) Berchtesgaden and the Iron Triangle.  
The Cold War took the Cottonbalers to Germany, and then world conditions required them to deploy to Kuwait and Iraq.
This year saw the 2-7's third welcome home from Iraq. The regiment's other battalion, the 3-7, is serving with the division's Fourth Brigade Combat Team in Iraq. (The 1-7 is inactive.)
Thursday's events were Fort Stewart's first full ceremonial display since elements of the division began deploying to Iraq. The band provided military music, roses were presented to wives, the outgoing and incoming commanders trooped the line and the battalion passed in review.
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