News: 4-6th ARS cases colors for Korea
Story by Staff Sgt. Bryan Lewis
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - A unit’s colors is military symbolism at its finest as it stands for the mission that lies ahead while carrying streamers from its path through history. The colors mark the rally point for soldiers to stand behind and follow.
The 4-6th Attack Reconnaissance Squadron, 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, cased its colors Sept. 12 in the Redcatcher Squadron hanger on Gray Army Airfield as it prepares to shift from its home station in the Pacific Northwest to the Land of the Morning Calm.
The unit’s deployment to the Republic of Korea supports the U.S. defense commitment to the ROK and the Army’s focus to rebalance the Pacific. Approximately 380 soldiers and 30 OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopters will relocate to Camp Humphreys, South Korea to strengthen U.S. Forces Korea and the U.S. 8th Army.
“The task for the 4-6th Redcatchers is clear … deploy a trained and combat-ready force to the Republic of Korea,” said Col. Paul A. Mele, 16th CAB commander. “4-6th will then enhance the ROK and U.S. combined forces by increasing the capability for reconnaissance, security and deterrence.”
Lt. Col. Brian T. Watkins, 4-6th ARS commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Stanley W. Williams, 4-6th ARS command sergeant major, presented the unit colors with six troops to an audience that included Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, 7th Infantry Division commander.
“Before you today are the best trained soldiers and most cohesive squadron team I have served with in my 18-year career,” Watkins said. “I have complete faith in the ability of our soldiers to take on the challenges we will face during this deployment.”
Watkins and Williams carefully rolled up and cased the colors for it to cross the ocean and return to the ROK after a five-year absence and rejoin the 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade.
“As our nation rebalances to the Pacific, the squadron will face a truly demanding and dynamic operational environment in the Republic of Korea,” Watkins said.
The Redcatcher Squadron is the first unit to execute the Army’s new nine-month rotational deployments to the ROK.
“We are the first battalion-level unit in the Army to exercise the rotation of forces concept. We are literally the tip of the spear and for good reason,” Watkins said.
“Led by servant leaders and so full of esprit do corps, these professionals will show the way for additional rotational forces,” Mele added. “Their performance will develop trust with our allies and partners, proving that rotational units do indeed equal trained and lethal combat-ready forces.”