By Amanda Kim Stairrett

Killeen Daily Herald

FORT HOOD – Frantic is the one way to describe the current pace for the 1st Infantry Division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team.

The brigade's soldiers returned from 12 months in Afghanistan earlier this summer and following a month-long block leave, they are preparing for a move to Fort Knox, Ky. The brigade activated at Fort Hood in April 2007. It was supposed to form at Fort Knox, but the post wasn't ready. Soldiers and families came to Fort Hood as early as January 2007 knowing that after returning from Afghanistan, they would pack up again and head to Kentucky.

Two months after activating at Fort Hood, the brigade's soldiers finally received their weapons. A year later, and after a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif., flights began departing Central Texas for Afghanistan.

It was a tough deployment and a tough place to be, said Col. John Spiszer, the brigade's commander, but the soldiers "went and did what we needed to be."

The brigade is a light infantry brigade, meaning its soldiers don't use heavy machinery like Bradley fighting vehicles. They are quick and mobile – a type of unit Fort Hood isn't used to accommodating. Not only was the brigade unique to Fort Hood, the soldiers deployed to a theater that hasn't seen many Central Texas-based soldiers. The brigade was the largest Fort Hood unit sent to Afghanistan.

Now that the soldiers have returned from the post-deployment block leave, they are frantically working to move every person and piece of equipment to Fort Knox. Spiszer will relinquish command of the brigade and case its colors at a Sept. 10 ceremony on Cooper Field. The brigade will get a month-long break before an Oct. 16 activation, Spiszer said Friday.

The brigade will have a presence at Fort Hood until at least January, he added.

Though it is a frantic time, the brigade wanted to honor those who have helped its soldiers and families during its time at Fort Hood. They were recognized during a Friday ceremony and presented with prints depicting a soldier keeping watch for his comrades. Spiszer told those recognized that they had the brigade's back at home while its soldiers were deployed.

The deeds honored by the brigade included everything from providing coin holders and photographs for fallen soldiers' families, installing a billboard to recognize the brigade, regularly attending homecomings and funding various events.

Those honored Friday by the brigade were Ron Taylor and the Central Texas-Fort Hood Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army, Robin Crouse and Fort Hood's United Service Organizations, George Charette, David and Tamara Rhine, Joseph Huckestein, Martha Moreno, Emily Shumate, Elizabeth Laird, Rich Kaye, Stu McLennan, Eva Keagle, Teresa Smith and Lamar Outdoor Advertising, David Mitchell, Steve Carpenter, Ed Mullen and the city of Harker Heights, Jean Shine and the Shine Team, Tony Ross and Robert Brown of Tony's DJ and Karaoke, Larry Boggs and JCPenney, John Conley of Conley Sports Inc./Austin Marathon, Hanna Springs Intermediate and Mahoney Elementary School, Jeanne Isdale and Rotary Club of Killeen Heights,

Contact Amanda Kim Stairrett at or (254)-501-7547.

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