News: Lightning Brigade cases colors, set to deploy
Story by Sgt. William Begley
FORT HOOD, Texas - The cold, brisk January weather provided a mild break for soldiers of the 69th Air Defense Artillery Brigade while they cased their colors in a ceremony held at Sadowski Field Friday.
The Lightning Brigade cased its colors in preparation for deployment to southwest Asia in the Central Command theater of operations to support combat operations.
The III Corps and Fort Hood command team, Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark Milley and Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, took part in the ceremony.
“Underneath your command and control and care is our nation’s most precious resource – our Soldiers,” Milley said. “We all know that you will perform up to the exceptional standards that you have set in the past. This brigade knows the importance of theater missile defense. They know their task is to shoot down inbound missiles and to shoot down enemy aircraft. They know that when they fire and when they pull the trigger that many lives are depending on their skills.”
Col. Randall McIntire, commander of the 69th ADA Bde., took a few minutes to explain to the Families the significance of the colors.
“Historically, the colors were carried around and served as a reminder of where the commander stood,” McIntire said. “In the midst of the fog of war, bad weather, loud noises, the colors were held high so that the unit could know where they stood on the battlefield. It also stands for the significant unit achievements. Those who serve in the unit know that there is a deep pride in the fabric of these colors.”
While some operations in the Central Command theater of operations are winding down, Milley said the need for air defense is still great. With all the advances of technology, missiles and aircraft, this brigade is constantly asked over and over again to guard the skies.
Command Sgt. Maj. William Maddox, the Lightning Brigade command sergeant major, said when the unit reaches the theater of operations, the colors will then be uncased. Maddox said he is excited about the deployment.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the Middle East, and air defense is at the forefront of guarding the troops over there,” he said. “As we draw forces out of Afghanistan and brigade combat teams are no longer going to be forward deployed, air defense will continue to be an asset for the CENTCOM commanders.”
Milley left the soldiers with one final thought.
“As you board the plane next week, the emotion that you feel should be an overwhelming sense of pride in your colors, your unit, your leaders and your troops,” the general said. “You should have an overwhelming sense of mission accomplishment. You have spent the last year preparing for this very moment; now, it’s show time.”