‘Long Knife’ Brigade cases colors, turns new chapter during inactivation ceremony

Headquarters, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Courtesy Story

Date: 10.17.2013
Posted: 10.17.2013 14:55
News ID: 115302
‘Long Knife’ Brigade cases colors, turns new chapter during inactivation ceremony

By Sgt. Angel Turner
1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas - One day short of its eight-year anniversary, the 4th Brigade “Long Knife” Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, cased its colors during an inactivation ceremony Oct. 17 at Cooper Field here.

“This ceremony is symbolic and yet is a real initiation in the first step, which is to enhance the capability of our units here at Fort Hood,” said Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, the commanding general of the 1st Cavalry Division.

“Long Knife soldiers, past and present, thank you for all you have done,” said Ierardi, a native of Philadelphia. “Your legacy and greatness will forever live in the rolls of Army history.”

The brigade, activated in 2005 at Fort Bliss, Texas, is the first to inactivate as the Army transforms it’s overall structure to meet the needs of war.

“The Army has been through organizational changes before,” said Col. William Benson, outgoing commander of 4th BCT, 1st Cavalry Division. “Divisions and brigades have come and gone in an almost cyclical way according to the needs of the American people and government.”

“Long Knife” soldiers have deployed four times, three tours to Iraq and one tour to Afghanistan, where they advised and assisted their counterparts to enhance their security forces.

Along with the brigade, the 27th Brigade Support Battalion; 5th Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment; and the 4th Brigade Special Troops Battalion also cased their colors.

The remaining three battalions were reassigned within the 1st Cavalry Division.

The 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment now falls under 1st Brigade Combat Team; 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment is now assigned to the 2nd Brigade Combat Team; and the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment is now a part of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

“The need for the brigade is no longer so this should not be a cause for disappointment.” Benson said. "The brigade accomplished its assigned mission. The efforts of the brigade helped provide the people of Iraq and Afghanistan with an opportunity for a different future. A better future.”

“Though we may case our colors, we do not erase all that these brigade soldiers and leaders have accomplished in the past or will accomplish in the future,” added Benson.

The inactivation ceremony had a bittersweet effect on the unit’s only sergeant first class to help stand the brigade up.

From serving as a platoon sergeant in the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, to serving as the first sergeant for Troop B, 1st Squadron, 9th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Sgt. Fernando Fernandez, former first sergeant for the brigade headquarters company has a long history with the unit.

Fernandez recalled the small office with only a desk and one computer and a sign on the door that read “4-1 Cav” was all that represented the brigade.

“We started from scratch,” said Fernandez, an Alamo, Texas, native. “We had to borrow equipment to qualify our soldiers and within a year we deployed.”

A unit named from a contest where the name was drawn from a hat will now be remembered for the hard work and accomplishments put forth by the thousands of soldiers who had the privilege of calling themselves the “Long Knife” Brigade.

“It’s always a little sad to see a unit inactivate and case their unit colors,” said Benson, “but it’s for a good reason and the Army becomes stronger because of it.”