News: Bravo Company, 2-149th GSAB lifts off to make history once more
Story by Sgt. Jeremy Spires
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Amidst a hanger full of loving friends and family, more than 100 Texas and Oklahoma Army National Guardsmen comprising B Company, 2-149th General Support Aviation Battalion, 36th Infantry Division, receive encouraging words and near deafening applause during their deployment ceremony, April 20.
“You are a national treasure,” said Maj. Gen. James K. “Red” Brown, commanding general, 36th Inf. Div., to the soldiers, family and friends gathered before him. “No other nation in the world deploys reserve component soldiers and defends the country as you do. You back up to no one, you are the best that this country has to offer. You are well trained, you are well led and you are prepared to do the mission you are about to do.”
More than 30,000 Texas Army National Guards soldiers have deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, and the soldiers of B Company will assist in the final months of the U.S. presence in Afghanistan.
“At the end of the day our mission is a retrograde mission,” said Maj. Chris Hanna, commander of B Company, 2-149th GSAB. “Essentially, we are closing down shop in Afghanistan, and they want us to be there and assist in moving all the equipment and personnel that are in these different areas.”
Similar to the withdrawal from Iraq, this type of operation will require a massive logistics surge.
“I cannot tell you when things are closing down, but when they do we will be there to pick up their stuff,” said Hanna. “Whether it is pallets of MREs, equipment, personnel or whatever, we will be there to consolidate it to a central location in order to prepare them to return home.”
For many of the soldiers in formation this is not their first major operation. They have mobilized for support and combat operations for the state of Texas and the United States.
“I want to tell you how proud we are of you for standing up and taking an oath to support and defend the constitution of this great nation,” said Maj. Gen. Brown. “You do so with honor, you do so with pride and you do so with valor, as you have demonstrated each and every time that we have asked you to deploy. ”
U.S. Congressman Mark Veasy, a member of the Armed Forces Committee, also attended the ceremony, as well as, the Patriot Guard Riders of North Texas.