With composed expressions, Col. Charles Armstrong and Command Sgt. Maj. Quentin Fenderson of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team slipped a camouflaged cover over a unit flag to signal the end of their activities at Fort Riley before the brigade and two others deploy to Europe and Afghanistan.
The 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade and 1st Sustainment Brigade took part in a combined colors casing ceremony Tuesday morning at Marshall Army Airfield.
“The success of 1st Brigade, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade and Sustainment Brigade over these last 12 months are a testament to (their commitment),” said Maj. Gen. John Kolasheski, commanding general of Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division. “Now they will have the opportunity to employ these skills to service of something greater than themselves.”
Col. Chris Black, commander of the 1st CAB, said his unit is already heading out for deployment and will continue to do so in the next few weeks. His brigade has already been to three combat centers to prepare for the deployment.
“We’re going to be looking forward to working with our NATO allies and learning from them how they do their military operations and working together as a joint, combined NATO team,” Black said. “That’s going to be a lot of of fun. And of course, there’s nothing wrong with seeing lots of different spots of Europe.”
Black's unit will be stationed across various locations in Europe for about nine months and will be assisting with the Assurance and Deterrence aspect of the Atlantic Resolve mission.
“I think you learn a lot from the diversity of how they (other countries’ militaries) do business versus how we do business, and I think there’s a lot to be said about joining together as a team because we are all part of the greater NATO mission,” Black said. “We all have the Assurance and Deterrence mission so we have to come together and work as a team and learn how to fight with each other and communicate with one another in case something happens.”
Approximately 3,500 1st ABCT soldiers will replace those from the 1st Cavalry Division as part of a regular rotation of forces to Europe in support of the Atlantic Resolve mission, which helps prepare and improve relations between multinational militaries with training events in Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania.
The 1st Cav. Div. will return to Fort Hood, Texas.
About 1,900 1st CAB soldiers will replace those from the Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, in Europe, for Atlantic Resolve, who will return to Fort Carson, Colorado.
More than 150 soldiers in the 1st Sustainment Brigade will take the place of the 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade from Fort Campbell, Kentucky, in Afghanistan for Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, which focuses on training, advising, assisting and counter-terrorism in the area.