• December 20, 2014

'Next chapter': 1st Cavalry cases colors for Afghanistan

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Posted: Thursday, June 19, 2014 4:30 am

FORT HOOD — America’s First Team is trained and ready for its mission, said Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, 1st Cavalry Division commander, during a colors-casing ceremony Wednesday at Cooper Field.

“I can think of no better team than the first team to represent this next chapter,” he said while standing before the post and community leaders who filled the stands to show their support for the division.

Bills and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Barteky cased the division’s colors, symbolizing its departure from Fort Hood. “Our troopers’ professionalism and training speaks for itself,” Bills said. “I look forward to leading them through significant transitions, challenges and accomplishments.”

Also during the ceremony, Bills welcomed Col. Viet Luong, who will serve as a the division’s rear detachment commander.

In the coming weeks, about 300 of the nearly 1,000 soldiers assigned to the division’s Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion will deploy for nine months to Afghanistan.

Bills and his team will take over for the 4th Infantry Division of Fort Carson, Colo., as the headquarters of Regional Command South.

“(We will) use our experience, skills and best judgment to accomplish the ... mission to the highest standard,” he said.

The division last deployed to Afghanistan in 2011-2012 as the headquarters of Regional Command East under the command of then-Maj. Gen. Daniel Allyn.

Lt. Col. John Garcia, the division civil affairs officer, will be heading out for his fourth combat deployment.

To get ready to leave his three children and wife back home, he took the family on a vacation.

“I’m missing my son’s first birthday,” Garcia said. “That’s the challenge.”

To read more about the division’s mission here and abroad, read Wednesday’s Fort Hood Herald.

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