3/1 says goodbye through deployment ceremony
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commanding general of U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, and Col. Christopher Toner, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, ride in a vintage World War II vehicle to inspect the troops on Thursday, Dec. 9 at Brooks Field, Fort Knox, Ky. The 3/1 IBCT is scheduled to deploy in early winter to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tobey White.)

FORT KNOX, Ky. - As the 113th Army Band playing a welcoming tune, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, outfitted in their new multicam uniforms, braved the cold and wind to march to their deployment ceremony in a time-honored tradition at Brooks Field on Dec. 9.
Family and friends cheered in the stands as the majority of the Brigade's soldiers marched onto the field in formation. The deployment ceremony is one that draws its history from years of families saying goodbye to loved ones as they prepare to deploy, and it recognizes the sacrifices the Soldiers and their families will make for their country.
"The ceremony was an opportunity to see soldiers who are ready and willing to go to war. It was an honor to be able to see that," said Capt. Martisse Dettmer, with the Fort Knox Staff Judge Advocate, whose husband is deploying with 3/1 IBCT.
The brigade is scheduled to deploy in early winter to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their mission will be to assist Afghan National Security Forces in protecting the Afghan people, neutralizing the insurgency, and setting the conditions necessary for successful transition of regional control to the Afghan government.
The ceremony marked the last official goodbye before the Duke Brigade deploys to Afghanistan in the coming months, said Lt. Col. Alan Streeter, commander of the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment.
During the ceremony, the brigade colors were also ceremoniously cased in preparation for overseas travel.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commanding general of U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, presided over the ceremony.
The ceremony marked the beginning of a year-long deployment and commitment to helping the Afghan government and combating the insurgency, he said.
Lt. Gen. Freakley also acknowledged that while the 3/1's mission will not be easy, he's confident they can handle it.
"I've been on the ground where these Soldiers will fight," he said, "it's tough ground. I've seen the enemy that these Soldiers will fight, they are a tough enemy. But I'll tell you this: these Soldiers are tougher."
In just over a year, the brigade has built their personnel strength to over 3,500 soldiers, organized and trained six combat-ready battalions to combat proficiency, and integrated 9,000 separate types of military equipment.
3/1 Brigade commander Col. Christopher Toner said that he feels the unit is trained up for the mission and ready to go.
"There's a point in the deployment cycle where you're feeling confident in yourself and you want to deploy and assume the mission," he said. "We're at that stage right now."
For the Soldier going overseas, leaving loved ones can be the hardest part.
Jalin Balletto, whose husband will deploy with the brigade, said it won't be easy being without her husband for so long. But she said she's confident that she, her husband and their two children will be well taken care of, and that she hopes everyone will come home after their tour.
"Just pray that they come home safe," she said. "Every single [Soldier] has someone in the States missing them and loving them."

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