The 2nd Armor Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division cased its unit colors Thursday morning in a formal ceremony on Fort Stewart’s Cottrell Field.
About 100 soldiers, including the brigade headquarters, an engineer company with the 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion and B Battery, 1-9th Field Artillery will deploy to Afghanistan for a nine-month “Advise & Assist” combat tour.
Spartan Brigade soldiers began deploying to Afghanistan in February, starting with the 1st Battalion, 30th Infantry Regiment, then the 1st Battalion, 64th Armor. Elements of the 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry and smaller units have since deployed. The 1/30th Infantry began redeploying last week.
Col. Douglas Cardinale, brigade commander, and the brigade’s Command Sgt. Maj. Jefferson Moser cased the unit’s colors with Col. John Hort, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-rear, presiding over the ceremony.
In his opening remarks, Hort told guests, soldiers, friends and family members that colors-casing ceremonies remind him of the innocent observations made years ago by his daughter. She realized a casing represents a sad occasion, whereas an uncasing ceremony represents a happy occasion, he said.
Hort said this was the Spartan Brigade’s fifth deployment in the last 10 years, noting that because their mission this time included multiple teams operating in several areas, it demonstrated the versatility and flexibility of the soldiers and their leaders.
“The path to get us to this day has been a challenge,” he said, turning his attention specifically to the family members. “We know from previous deployments this separation will not be easy... (but) we (also know) we’ll have that happy ceremony in the near future.”
Cardinale began by thanking guests, saying he was “humbled and grateful” for the confidence the Marne Division’s commander, Maj. Gen. Robert “Abe” Abrams, had in Spartan Brigade soldiers by selecting them for this mission.
He said the brigade already had sent nine security force “advise and assist” teams, and expressed confidence in those now deploying to carry on the reputation the brigade had earned since it was first constituted at Camp Green, N.C., in November 1917.
In July 1918, the 2nd brigade participated with the 3rd ID in the Battle of the Marne near Paris, France, as part of the American Expeditionary Force, helping the 3rd ID earn its reputation as the “Rock of the Marne.”
“We’re going to work hand in hand with a brigade from the Australian army to help turn the country back over to Afghan people,” brigade public affairs officer Capt. Gina Goris said. “It’s really a unique mission.”
Goris said 2nd ABCT soldiers were sent to Darwin, Australia, last month to train with their Army. She said the combined American and Australian soldiers will train Afghan forces to take responsibility for their country’s security.