News: South Carolina National Guard unit cases colors in preparation for Afghanistan deployment
Story by Sgt. Brad Mincey
SALUDA, S.C.— The South Carolina National Guard’s 124th Engineer company cased their unit colors during a ceremony, Aug. 17, 2013, at the Saluda Armory in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan.
The Casing of the Colors ceremony is a tradition where the unit flag is furled (or rolled) and covered. The colors are then unfurled and fly at the location of deployment once the unit has made its transition into theater.
“The casing of the colors signifies that the higher command of the 124th Engineer Company is now moving from the 122nd Engineer Battalion to the 489th Engineer Battalion in preparation for our upcoming deployment,” said Capt. Alan Wooten, commander of the 124th Engineer Company. “It’s symbolic of the passing of the colors to a higher authority and protecting the colors as we prepare to move into combat.”
Once deployed to Afghanistan, the company will be attached to the 489th Engineer Battalion from Arkansas and although there probably will not be an uncasing ceremony, the colors will be unfurled while in theater. The unit’s mission will involve conducting a variety of tasks, including building destruction as the military winds down operations in Afghanistan.
This is the second deployment for the 124th Engineer Company since Sept. 11, 2001. Their first deployment was near Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, Iraq. Though they are going to Afghanistan on this deployment, the training and preparation was very similar.
“We’ve validated all of our Warrior Tasks and our mission essential tasks,” said Wooten. “All of the soldiers have worked very hard over the past year.”
They will mobilize and deploy later this month, first going to Camp Shelby, Miss., before leaving for their area of operations in Afghanistan. The deployment will last for approximately one year.
“There is some excitement that goes with a deployment, but there is also some nervousness, which is normal,” said Wooten. “We’re going to stay focused and complete this mission.”
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