PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan — More than a decade has passed and U.S. forces continue to leave their mark in Afghanistan, but for one unit, its mark is making history.
The 2nd “Black Jack” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, uncased its colors for the first time in the country, marking the start of a historical moment for the unit, during a ceremony on Bagram Air Field on Aug. 8.
Col. Robert Whittle Jr., brigade commander, described the occasion as “a rendezvous with destiny.”
Maj. Gen. James Richardson, deputy commander of III Corps and Joint Operational Corps Headquarters-Afghanistan and commander of the U.S. National Support Element Command-Afghanistan, spoke briefly on the brigades historic operational success and encouraged Black Jack soldiers to use past lessons to build new qualities during this deployment.
“Remember what (Black Jack) has already accomplished in Iraq. Carry those lessons of team work and combat with you,” Richardson said. “(Black Jack) team has a noble history and legend that you build on as
you prepare to serve our nation in battle yet again.”
Whittle said although the brigade’s current mission to cover and enable the International Security Assistance Force-Afghanistan retrograde differs from those of past deployments, it’s an equally important task that his team will complete.
“(Black Jack’s) task is to assist in finishing the fight, ensure our Afghan allies who are out front, have partnership and support to win,” Whittle said. “We will simultaneously pave the way to bring our soldiers and our nation’s treasure home.”
Whittle said the brigade’s operation and assistance has already begun, with Black Jack battalions providing artillery support, reserve missions, convoy and route security, all while logistically supporting brigade elements throughout two regional commands and 12 forward operating bases.
“Black Jack soldiers are trained, disciplined and agile, who can exercise sound judgement and understand the strategic affect of their tactical actions,” Whittle said.
As the brigade sets to finish the deployment successfully, Richardson said, “I am completely confident that (Black Jack) will succeed in your mission. I can’t think of a better unit to send forward during these times than the Black Jack Brigade.”