• December 27, 2014

Fort Hood troops uncase colors

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Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2006 12:00 pm | Updated: 3:17 pm, Wed Aug 15, 2012.

By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – During her unit's casing ceremony at Fort Hood in 2005, Col. Cassandra V. Roberts committed to bringing everyone back, prompting some to ask how she could make such a bold statement.

On Wednesday, Roberts brought her soldiers home.

"If you don't set it as a goal, you'll never attain it," she said during the uncasing ceremony Wednesday morning at Fort Hood.

The 64th Corps Support Group, 553rd Corps Support Battalion and 180th Transportation Battalion uncased their colors Wednesday morning after recently returning from deployments in Iraq,

the second for all three units.

The 2nd Chemical Battalion and Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 64th Corps Support Group also uncased their colors at a ceremony by 13th Support Company (Expeditionary) Headquarters.

The 62nd Engineer Battalion is still "in the heart of the battle" in Baghdad and is expected to return to Fort Hood in November or December, said Roberts, commander of the 64th Corps Support Group and its rear command. The 62nd is in the "heart of the battle" in Baghdad, she said.

Roberts said training is why she can make a pledge to bring everyone home. Assuring that kind of safety is made possible through training, she said. It is necessary to make sure the leaders responsible for keeping their soldiers informed of the dangers on the road are doing their jobs.

"When I make a commitment to family members, I do everything I can to come through," she said.

Although the soldiers recently redeployed, their jobs aren't done, Roberts said. The units are constantly deployed, she said, and at any time, 50 percent of her soldiers are in Iraq or Afghanistan.

It's the kind of constant change that she and her family are used to. As she was deployed to Iraq last year, her husband was on the way to assist Hurricane Katrina victims.

As Roberts uncased colors Wednesday, her husband was preparing to case colors with the 1st Cavalry Division today.

During its deployment, Roberts' unit worked in direct support of the 2nd Marine Division and received a division combat patch, only the second logistics unit in the history of the Marine Corps to receive that distinction, Roberts said.

The two created and experimented ways to cooperate in combat. There wasn't a manual for the kind of relationship between the 64th Corps Support Group and the 2nd Marine Division, she said, so they had to make it up as they went along.

It wasn't easy, she said, but the Marines were "awesome" and cooperative.

"You have to convince them that you're capable of taking care of them," she said.

Marine officials visited the corps support group and said that kind of military relationship is the future, Roberts said.

The 553rd Corps Support Battalion deployed to Kuwait in September 2005 and assumed command of several units, including seven nontraditional companies and a naval detachment with more than 1,200 soldiers and sailors. The battalion completed tasks such as water purification, direct support maintenance and medium- and heavy-lift ground transportation, gun truck escorts, field service support for stabilization operations and security operations in the Anbar Province.

The soldiers returned to Fort Hood on Aug. 15.

The 180th Transportation Battalion deployed to Kuwait in August 2005, replacing the 106th Transportation Battalion from Fort Campbell, Ky. The battalion assumed command of more than 1,200 soldiers and airmen, including transportation units and two Air Force detachments. Soldiers provided common user land transport missions throughout Iraq and internal gun truck security, moving more than 22 brigades and other critical supplies and equipment. The battalion conducted more than 1,030 missions while driving more than 22 million miles.

The 180th also moved 141 pallets of emergency supplies following an October 2005 earthquake in Pakistan.

During its deployment, the battalion was involved in 46 direct-fire engagements, 52 improvised explosive device attacks and four indirect-fire incidents. These incidents resulted in one Silver Star, one Soldiers' Medal, two Bronze Stars with Valor and numerous Purple Hearts.

Four 180th soldiers died during the rotation. The battalion returned to Fort Hood Aug. 15.

The 2nd Chemical Battalion took over the role of the 64th Corps Support Group Rear Detachment when the 64th Corps Support Group deployed to Iraq in September 2005.

The corps support group supported operations for the I and II Marine Expeditionary Forces and the 13th and 22nd Marine Expeditionary Units in seven significant operations. In that time, the units drove more than 4.6 million miles and provided more than 5 million meals, 33.8 million bottles of water and 96.1 million gallons of fuel.

The group also helped to establish election sites throughout the Euphrates River Valley.

One National Guard soldier attached to the support group died during the deployment.

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at astair@kdhnews.com

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