Spartan Brigade cases colors
Members of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and 3rd Brigade Combat Team commands case the brigade colors during a ceremony Monday at Sexton Field. The Spartan Brigade is preparing for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan. From left are Col. Samuel E. Whitehurst, 3rd BCT commander; Command Sgt. Maj. Sean T. Watson, 3rd BCT senior enlisted adviser; Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander; and Command Sgt. Maj. Rick E. Merritt, 10th Mountain Division (LI) senior enlisted adviser.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Hundreds of Family Members and community leaders gathered at Sexton Field, filling the seats, bleachers and finding spots on the grass, to honor the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division (LI) "Spartans," during a deployment ceremony Monday.

As tradition dictates, when elements of the Army deploy, commanders of each unit will present their unfurled colors during a formal casing ceremony. Once the unit arrives at its destination, the colors are uncased and remain unfurled during the deployment.

With the brigade proudly displaying its colors before the crowd, Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, Fort Drum and 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, stepped to the podium to address the Soldiers, Families and distinguished guests who attended the ceremony.

"Spartans, I'm not going to sugarcoat this: the mission you have is extremely challenging," Townsend said. "In fact, it's going to be the most arguably extremely challenging mission you have undertaken in this war."

The 10th Mountain Division commander told his Soldiers preparing to deploy that they will play a critical role in "one of the most challenging and dynamic deployments" to Afghanistan as they transfer full operational control of the Afghan security mission to the Afghan government.

Townsend heralded the division's 3rd Brigade Combat Team "one of the Army's most-experienced, most-deployed and most-successful brigade combat teams" during the ceremony outside Hays Hall.

During the ceremony, Col. Samuel E. Whitehurst, 3rd Brigade Combat Team commander, addressed the crowd of attendees.

"This brigade is ready," Whitehurst said. "They are well-trained, their leaders are well-trained, and they are ready to handle the challenges that lay ahead."

Addressing his Soldiers, formed up against the backdrop of giant crossed red swords on a 10th Mountain Division banner, Whitehurst noted the vast training brigade Soldiers have gone through before their upcoming deployment.

"Our mission in Afghanistan will be challenging," Whitehurst said. "My advice to you over the next nine months is to not forget what it means to 'live on amber.' This will keep our Soldiers safe and will ensure our mission success."

Soldiers from 3rd Brigade Combat Team will be in a security force advise and assist role while deployed to Afghanistan, which they have been training for the past year. The training included the post's Mountain Peak exercise and a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., among many other training exercises.

The Spartan Brigade will join their fellow 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers in Afghanistan.

Page last updated Thu September 26th, 2013 at 11:34