WIESBADEN ARMY AIRFIELD, Germnay -- Soldiers from 1st Armored Division Special Troops Battalion marched into a parking lot on Wiesbaden Army Airfield filled with Christmas lights, ponies, rides and their families and friends as they prepared to case their unit colors for the last time in Germany before deploying to Iraq, Dec. 11, 2009.

A year ago, the unit uncased the colors after a 15-month tour in Iraq. In just a year, the Soldiers of 1AD will be facing a very different one from the last deployment. Their mission will be to assist and advise Iraqis as they take part in what is expected to be the final drawdown of U.S. forces in Iraq.

"I'm looking forward to making a change in Iraq," said Sgt. Anthony Sheffey, a personal security detachment Soldier with 1 st Armored Division Special Troops Battalion. "Knowing that I can be a part of the history as the Iraqis take over the government makes me proud. One day I know I'll be able to sit down with my grandkids and tell them I was a part of history."

With Christmas only three weeks away, most Soldiers were not focusing on the eventual move to Texas but were instead enjoying the festive holiday season with German mulled wine, a tree lighting ceremony, the German tradition of tapping a wooden beer cask and stories about everything from time spent on block leave to what they will soon encounter in Iraq.

"I was not expecting these holiday festivities," said Pvt. 1st Class Regina Gilmore, an administrative specialist with 1st Armored Division Special Troops Battalion. " Truthfully I was just expecting a casing ceremony so I was truly surprised when I saw all of this and I think it's great because it seems to have really brought the Soldiers and all the families together during an important time."

Page last updated Fri December 11th, 2009 at 15:04