FORT HOOD — More than 3,000 soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, will carry out a historic mission when they deploy to Afghanistan for the first time this summer, said Col. Robert Whittle, the brigade’s commander.
To signify their departure, the brigade and its six battalions cased their colors Thursday during a ceremony at Cooper Field.
The soldiers are expected to be in Afghanistan by the end of July and will be stationed at regional commands east and south.
Whittle said the soldiers will assist with the withdrawal of forces and equipment from the country and some will be involved with closing bases.
“We are deploying to help set the conditions for America’s troops to come home from war,” Whittle said. “We look forward to accomplishing that historic task and we are honored to have this mission.”
In May, the unit conducted training at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., for about a month. Whittle said having the brigade together and working on the same mission helped build confidence.
“(Soldiers) were able to shoot, move and communicate together as a team,” he said. “They were able to figure out that they could be given different missions which they may not necessarily expect or may not have experience (in), but through good planning and synchronized execution, (they can) accomplish those missions.”
Maj. Gen. Anthony Ierardi, division commander, said he’s confident in the leadership of the brigade and the capabilities of its soldiers.
“This is an important mission for the division,” he said.
In Afghanistan, the unit will be the largest brigade combat team in theater.
The soldiers are “lethal, flexible, agile, capable trained and ready” for their mission, Whittle said. “Together ... (they are) the most powerful formations to ever take the field of battle.”