<b> FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>-First Heavy Brigade Combat Team held their Color casing ceremony at Marne Garden at Fort Stewart, Ga., Dec. 11. The ceremony marks the start of deployment for the brigade and the Colors won't be uncased until the brigade is in Iraq.

"(The National Training Center) was tough, but it prepared us," said Col. Roger Cloutier, 1st HBCT commander. "The unit is ready. We have a lot of combat experience in the brigade, and I think the community will be proud of their sons and daughters here. They've worked hard, they're ready, and we will accomplish the mission."

For some, the Color casing ceremony marks the start of their first deployment.

"It feels like I'm joning a veteran team," said Pfc. Jeremiah Jensen, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st HBCT. "The nice part of being a part of this team is that they know what they are doing and they know how to lead you and take care of you. It's nice to know where I am and know I'll be taken care of."

"This is my fifth deployment," said Sgt. Nathaniel Freeman, HHC, 1st HBCT. "This brigade is real close knit. They work hard, and we have really excellent leadership."

One of the greatest assets a brigade can have is Soldiers with experience who can train new recruits in the brigade as well as teach life lessons to other veterans.

"I can't say a whole lot about how this combat team compares to others, but what I do know is that this brigade has done a very good job of keeping experience here as well as bringing in new and fresh experience," said Sgt. Freeman. "I think we will be able to do what we have to do, then come home."

However, one of the hardest jobs in the Army is being an Army spouse, according to Sgt. Freeman.

"I'm ready to go, I really want to get this done and come back home to my loved ones," he said. "My wife is very supportive. As usual, I have the easy job. She has the hard job - being a wife, a single mother. While I'm gone, it isn't easy, so kudos to her. All the wives do a job that Soldiers could not do."

The brigade will uncase their Colors when they take command of their mission in Baghdad, early next year.

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