FORT HOOD — After 45 years at Fort Hood, the 180th Transportation Battalion cased its colors and became inactive Friday during a ceremony on Sadowski Field.

“I had my breath taken away a moment ago when those colors were cased,” said Col. Mark Simerly, commander of 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, which the 180th fell under.

As the colors were cased, soldiers from the battalion stood on the parade field with four of their trucks parked in the background.

Simerly described the day as one of joy and pride and also of nostalgia, after hearing the unit’s history was read aloud.

“Instead of focusing on what is no more, I’m focusing on the pride of what has taken place,” Simerly said during his remarks.

Known as the “King of the Road,” the battalion trained and prepared soldiers for battle as well as sustained Fort Hood, such as running ammunition supply, warehouses and maintenance. It’s primary function was to transport materials and soldiers to and from combat. A line of “Regimental Song of the Transportation Corps,” which soldiers sang to close the ceremony reads, “Give ’em plenty of beef and bullets, They’ll be moppin’ up the foe.”

The 180th served this mission in World War II, Southwest Asia in the Global War on Terror — most recently in Iraq from 2005 to 2007 and 2009 to 2010.

“It’s a great battalion with a great history,” said its last commander, Lt. Col. Stephen Riley. Signing off as the final “Monarch 6,” he said, was a blessing and a curse.

“I felt very fortunate to have this opportunity to work with great soldiers and leaders,” he said. “To be the last one is sad.”

The battalion is made up of seven companies. Headquarters and Headquarters Company was inactivated with the battalion headquarters and the remaining companies and equipment will shift under the leadership of other 4th Sustainment Brigade battalions.

“Know these soldiers are cared for, well trained and mission ready,” Riley said to the other battalion commanders during the ceremony. He spent a year and a half in command and will move to the brigade’s headquarters to serve as deputy commander.

The inactivation was part of the Army’s transition to a more modular force, but Riley said he expects the colors of the King of the Road to uncase again in the future.

Contact Rose L. Thayer at or (254) 501-7463. Follow her on Twitter at KDHmilitary.

Rose L. Thayer is the military editor for the Killeen Daily Herald. She joined the paper in February 2011 as a health and military reporter. View her complete profile Here.

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