FORT HOOD, Texas - Soldiers laughed, listened to music, played games and ate a hearty meal as they said goodbye to their brothers in arms, June 12.

The 615th Aviation Support "Cold Steel" Battalion, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, put together a large farewell party for the 404th Brigade Support "Providers" Battalion, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, scheduled to leave for Iraq by June 15.

Edmond, Okla., native Lt. Col. Dean Keck, commander of the Cold Steel Battalion, welcomed Boulder, Colo., native Lt. Col. David George, commander of the Providers, with open arms to the Cold Steel headquarters.

But these two men aren't strangers.

Keck and George attended flight school together around 1990, said Keck.

Both laughed and joked about who finished with higher marks.

Regardless of their history, the day was about their Soldiers. They made sure the troopers knew that they supported them even across unit boundaries, said Keck.

"This was done to show support for our sister battalion since they're heading down range. This is one Army - we're all Soldiers and we need to support each other," he said.

George was grateful for the send-off and agreed with his brother-in-arms.

"We're very appreciative of the first-class send-off by our sister unit. This party really shows the teamwork and esprit de corps in the Army that transcends units," said George.

Another notable visitor to the party was Maj. Gen. Daniel Bolger, commander of the 1st Cav. Div.

Bolger, who hails from Aurora, Ill., was there to say goodbye to the 404th and also help celebrate an early birthday for the Army as it turned 233 years old June 14.

"It's my honor to be here today with the Providers of the 4th Infantry Division and, of course, Cold Steel of the 1st Air Cavalry Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division," he said.

Bolger reminded everyone about the significance of the Army's birthday and how it tied into the farewell party.

"It's no secret that our Army was born at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. If fact, our Army was born 13 months before we even had a country on the 14th of June, 1775," said Bolger.

"So we're an Army that was born in war and we're fighting a war right now," he said.

Bolger noted the importance of the aviation support units.

"Anybody who's been around Army aviation for a while knows that the ASB are the folks who make it all happen - and I certainly know that. We appreciate the hard work," said Bolger.

It was cake cutting time, not time to think about the future deployment - the Providers would have plenty of time to do that later.

For now the Providers can forget about the 15-month deployment for at least a day as they sit back and enjoy the company of their sister unit with some laughter and plenty of birthday cake.

Happy birthday Army. Farewell Providers.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16