Soldiers from 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, cased their colors September 26, for the first time since relocating to Fort Bliss, Texas, in preparation for their upcoming deployment to the Middle East.

The brigade commander, Col. Charles Lombardo, of Park Hills, and brigade command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin DaGraca cased the historic colors at Strike Field in anticipation for the brigade’s first deployment since 2011.

“The Mission to Operation Spartan Shield is one that the Iron Brigade is honored to serve in,” said Lombardo about the “Iron Brigade” mission to Kuwait.

The colors casing ceremony was the last step in the brigade's deployment to Kuwait to support combatant commander mission requirements for Operation Spartan Shield. The deployment colors casing ceremony, is an Army tradition that symbolizes the movement of a unit to a new theater of operation.

For the past six years, the “Iron Brigade” served as the Army’s Experimental Task Force and provided first class assessment for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and the Army’s Joint Modernization Command mission during several Network Integration Evaluation and Army Warfighting Assessment related exercises at Fort Bliss.

“Since the end of 2016, the brigade’s training for Operation Spartan Shield, has been all encompassing,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Landes, 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss Deputy Commanding General. “They have worked since day one to prepare to fight and win.”

Upon completion of AWA, the brigade rapidly transitioned back to the U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM) ready pool as the Iron Brigade trained in preparation for the National Training Center.

“The hardship of executing a train-up on a truncated calendar was made tolerable by the love and support provided by the Soldiers and their families,” said Chuck Lombardo, 2nd Brigade Combat Team commander.

That role ended last fall, and the brigade and its battalions have been transitioning to be fully deployable since then.

The deployment is expected to last nine months with soldiers slated to return in the summer of next year.

Approximately 3,500 Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will be replacing 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Calvary Division out of Fort Hood.

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or rbronaugh@dailyjournalonline.com

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