Currahees case colors for deployment
April 11, 2013
Story by Spc. Justin A. Moeller, 4th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
FORT CAMPBELL, Ky.--The 4th Brigade Combat Team "Currahee", 101st Airborne Division's colors soar in the wind as a beacon of the unit's infamous history and as a reminder of their powerful presence.
The brigade and regimental colors were cased during a ceremony April 11, 2013, at Fort Campbell, Ky. They will travel to Afghanistan and remain furled until the unit's command completes its transition to Afghanistan where the colors will then once again fly in combat.
"Flags have traditionally represented units going back in history," said retired U.S. Army Col. Bob Sietz, honorary colonel of the 506th Infantry Regiment. "The casing of the colors is a relatively new ceremony that represents the colors being moved from the headquarters to the place the Soldiers are going."
The colors, with attached battle streamers, accompany the unit and are displayed to signify that unit's historic lineage in past campaigns.
The colors are adorned with streamers representing four presidential unit citations, a valorous unit award, four meritorious unit commendations and 19 campaigns including the French Croix de Guerre with palm for Normandy, the orange lanyard of the Netherlands, the Belgian Croix de Guerre with palm for Bastogne, two Republic of Vietnam Crosses of Gallantry with palms, and the Republic of Vietnam Civic Action Streamer.
The casing of the colors may be a relatively new Army tradition but it symbolizes the moving of the unit to a different theater of operation and serves as a vivid reminder of what the Currahees represent.
"Our history, colors and streamers mean a great deal to the Currahee brigade combat team and the 506th Infantry Regiment," said Col. Val C. Keaveny, Jr., commander of the 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "They remind us of the incredible sacrifices this brigade and this regiment have made and of the 1,429 fallen Currahees during WWII, Vietnam and since 9/11."
"We join together to collectively tell the world that the Currahees are ready, we are deploying to answer our nation's call. We bring with us the strength of the Currahee nation -- tens-of-thousands strong, with the support of our Families, Veterans and friends."
During the ceremony several Currahee Veterans from WWII, Vietnam and more recent campaigns presented battle flags to the brigade commander, and battalion, squadron, battery, company and troop commanders. These flags will be flown here as a show of support from the Veterans in the absence of the unit's colors.
"We're here because we have great respect for the Soldiers who are stepping up for this deployment," said Seitz. "We, Veterans, think the world of the Currahee Soldiers of today. By giving flags to the brigade, battalions, batteries, companies and troops, we are showing our support."
"We will fly these battle flags with pride and we will honor the legacy you have passed to us," Keaveny shared as he accepted and thanked the Veterans for their continued support.
"Our colors have already flown in France, Holland, Germany, Vietnam, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan," said Keaveny. "On April 11, 2013, we prepare our colors, once again, to fly into combat."
"In the days and weeks ahead, we will add more to the lineage as we unfurl our colors in combat and as we don our 101st Combat Patches. Like the Currahees who have come before us, we have been called upon to serve at a decisive point in our nation's history."
This tradition displays the pride and respect that the Currahees have for their prestigious history while representing the unit's start to a deployment.
"I feel proud to deploy with this great regiment," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael A. Grinston, command sergeant major of 4th BCT, 101st Abn. Div. "It will forge a bond for me with those that have deployed in the past with the Currahees and with those that will deploy in the future."
Currahees have endured rigorous training and exercises in an effort to be a trained, disciplined and fit fighting force in preparation for their next rendezvous with destiny and to continue to bolster the Currahee legacy.
"From the tracer filled skies of D-Day, the bone-chilling cold of Bastogne, the sweltering jungles of Vietnam, the tense moments on the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the blistering heat of Iraq, to the lung-wrenching mountains of Afghanistan, Currahees have proven their mettle, time and time again," highlighted Keaveny. "I know we will honor that legacy, we will accomplish our mission and we will return with honor."