For the fifth time since 2003, the 3rd Cavalry Regiment cased its colors for combat operations — this time for a mission in Afghanistan.
With four tours through Iraq, this will be the first time the “Brave Rifles” participate in Operation Enduring Freedom.
“The troopers of the 3rd Cavalry Regiment have cased the colors as they prepare to embark on yet another chapter of this proud unit’s storied history,” said Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, 1st Cavalry Division commander and former commander of the regiment, during the symbolic ceremony Tuesday morning at Cameron Field.
The colors will remain cased until the regiment arrives at Forward Operating Base Lightning in Regional Command East in the coming weeks. The 2,000 deploying soldiers will replace 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, out of Fort Drum, N.Y.
To prepare for the mission, soldiers conducted a training rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.
Spc. Justin Hall, of Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, said that training experience is what prepared him to go downrange, where he will monitor radio communication.
“I like the unit. I’ve learned a lot of new things here,” Hall said. “I’m just ready to leave — to get over there and get started.”
Col. Cameron Cantlon, the 75th colonel of the regiment, said troopers are ready.
“The training has been tough, disciplined and seemingly never ending at times,” he said. “We have a proud and tough history to follow.”
During his remarks, Cantlon also noted the regiment simultaneously prepared troopers to deploy to other missions around the globe, including in Egypt and Cuba.
Bills echoed the colonel’s remarks, saying the troopers are ready for whatever the mission requires.
“Time passes and soldiers come and go, but the spirit of the mounted riflemen assembled here today lives in all of you,” he said. “Most importantly, know that your fellow soldiers and neighbors of the communities where you live and work are all extremely proud of you and proud of what you no doubt will achieve.”