News: 4th SBCT announces fall deployment to Afghanistan on “Raider Day”
Story by Spc. Kimberly Lessmeister
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash., – After months of whispers and suspected deployment dates, Col. Michael Getchell, commander, 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, announced internally April 19, here, that the brigade is slated to deploy to Afghanistan this fall.
The announcement came as part of “Raider Day,” a day celebrating unit and individual professionalism.
Soldiers participated in a brigade run, and some were recognized for various achievements such as earning the Expert Infantryman Badge and being named the best fire support team.
For Pfc. John Russo, and infantryman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 4th SBCT, 2nd Inf. Div., being awarded his EIB the same day as receiving confirmation of his upcoming deployment was bittersweet.
“The deployment announcement wasn’t really a shock,” said the Daytona Beach, Fla., native. “I look back on it and I don’t think they could’ve done it any better than they did.”
This will be the brigade’s third combat deployment and first to Afghanistan.
The brigade deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2007-2008 and again from 2009-2010.
Getchell explained the brigade’s upcoming mission to the soldiers of his formation.
“We will deploy to conduct a security force assistance mission,” Getchell said. “This means we will enable and assist the Afghan National Army and Police [in maintaining] their lead in security operations and in their efforts to connect the citizens of Afghanistan to their government.”
Since their return from Iraq in 2010, soldiers of the Raider Brigade have spent the past year and a half training and preparing should they be called on to deploy.
After completing two separate monthlong rotations at Yakima Training Center, Wash., the brigade is gearing up to participate in another monthlong field exercise, but this time at the National Training Center in California.
“Our nation’s calling on us,” said Russo. “I have a little fear, but more excitement [for the deployment].”
During the NTC rotation, the brigade will be evaluated on its combat readiness prior to deployment.