FORT HOOD — The colors and soldiers of the 62nd Signal Battalion, 11th Signal Brigade, are about to go on a journey, said Lt. Col. John P. Gregor, battalion commander.

In a ceremony Friday morning, the commander cased the battalion’s colors in preparation for a nine-month deployment to U.S. Central Command. The symbolic act signifies the unit’s readiness for the mission ahead.

“They stand ready to do their duty,” Gregor said.

Since January, the battalion has been training for a mission to provide communications systems for the missile defense shield across five countries in the command, with a network operations center in Kuwait.

“I think the biggest challenge will be in the geographic dispersal,” Gregor said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Woody Carter said the battalion’s subordinate units not only have to be self-sustaining and technically ready, but also professional and tactical.

“It’s an important mission, especially with what’s happening around the world that you see on the news,” he said.

“It’s key that we are successful and we will be. We will pave the way for what’s to come in the future.”

The battalion received new equipment for the deployment and about 300 soldiers spent time in the classroom learning to operate the modifications. Another 35 worked in Fort Hood’s Network Enterprise Center for four months.

Spc. Alexis Negron, a multi-channel transition system operator and maintainer, said he will be deploying for the second time.

He expects saying goodbye will be harder this time, because now he’s a father.

“He’s the first baby in the family,” said Negron’s wife, Ireliz Matos, of 4-month-old Alex M. Negron.

To support families, Gregor said he put an emphasis on creating strong family readiness groups.

“I firmly believe that as difficult as it is to be a soldier, it’s infinitely more difficult to be the wife, husband, child, mom or dad, who remains behind — whose loved one is deployed,” he said. “The FRGs are ready for this deployment.”

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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