News: Duke Brigade cases colors, prepare for deployment
Story by Sgt. Thomas Duval
FORT KNOX, Ky — Young children proudly waived their miniature American Flags as the sounds from the 113th Army band filled the Kentucky air. Spouses and distinguished guest anxiously watched wide-eyed as the soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division stood proudly saluting while their commander Col. Bill Ostlund flipped the page on a new chapter in the units history.
On Tuesday morning, Ostlund and his senior adviser, Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Meyers, officially cased the unit colors in a ceremony on Fort Knox’s Brooks Field.
The ceremony is the culminating event before the unit deploys to Afghanistan where they will help transition combat operations over to Afghan lead forces and support the drawdown of U.S. forces throughout multiple regions, later this year.
“One that has observed previous deployments will note, this is a unique deployment in unique times in the history of the war in Afghanistan,” said Ostlund. “Our soldiers will deploy into what is referred to as the fighting season and disperse in small elements throughout the whole of Afghanistan in order to execute varied missions-to include battle space ownership and integrator roles, Security Force assistance and village stability operations.”
“Duke Soldiers will partner with Afghan National Security Forces and Afghan Government officials to eliminate multiple threats to the country and population,” Ostlund added.
In preparation for the deployment, the 3/1 IBCT completed months of combat-focused training to include a demanding training cycle in the mountains and deserts of Yakima Wash.; Fort Bliss, Texas, Playas, N.M., and the swamps at the Joint Readiness Training Center in Fort Polk, La.
“Ten Months ago, The Duke Brigade began training for a very diverse mission … the training included individual skills such as extensive physical training, land navigation, advanced marksmanship and medical tasks,” said Ostlund. “More important than the training conducted was the team building that occurred… competence led to confidence in each other.”
After successfully completing all required training, the 3/1 IBCT was deemed mission ready and Ostlund and his soldiers began to set their sights on the mission that lie ahead, a mission the commander acknowledged will be tough and dangerous.
Although acknowledging the possible dangers that come with any deployment, he put the many of the soldiers and families at ease as he made his confidence in his soldiers known.
“Although our future operating environment is ever changing, rest assure the team before you is trained, competent, and committed,” said Ostlund.
According to Ostlund more than 2,500 soldiers will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, with one thing in mind; “what we do in life, echoes in eternity.”