The colors and battle streamers of 1st Battalion, 31st Field Artillery were again uncased at Fort Sill with the reactivation of the unit Jan. 11 at Rhinehart Fitness Center here.

Lt. Col. Timothy Frambes, most recently a plans officer with U.S. Army Europe in Heidelberg, Germany, assumed command of the "Always First" battalion, which traces its lineage back to 1918. It is now the newest basic combat training battalion in 434th FA Brigade.

"I'm absolutely excited," Frambes said, referring to his new command. "This is a great opportunity to take a new battalion, to meet the Army's requirements to train Soldiers and to continue to grow the Army."

Col. Greg Dewitt, 434th FA commander, officiated the activation and assumption of command ceremony.

"He (Frambes) comes with the leadership to stand up the unit, to finish forming it and then getting it ready for basic training in March," Dewitt said. He noted that Frambes has a lot of experience from the operational Army, has been the Army chief of staff's speech writer, and is a graduate of the Army School of Advanced Military Studies -- a graduate-level program.

The 1st-31st FA was reactivated to fill a training need at Fort Sill, Dewitt said.

The past few years as the 434th FA expanded training it used Army Reserve battalions to train recruits, he said.

"The Army recognized that the best way to sustain the process was to form an active-duty unit that will reside here permanently under the 434th," he said.

The current Reserve battalion which performs basic combat training is the 1st Battalion, 414th Infantry Regiment, which has been doing it for one year, but its BCT mission will end in April, he said.

Dewitt praised Lt. Col. Howard Smith, 434th FA, and Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Nolen, 1st-31st FA CSM, who led the stand up of the battalion beginning in October.

"He (Smith) completed the renovation of battalion headquarters, formed three basic combat training batteries and ensured that the battalion met its initial operating capability," Dewitt said. "Howard ... you have left a positive imprint on this battalion and set the stage for Tim and the unit."

Soldiers including many drill sergeants of the 1st-31st's A, C and F batteries stood in formation. During the ceremony Dewitt held the unit colors low as Nolen unfurled them to symbolically reactivate the unit. Then Dewitt raised and passed the colors to Frambes to signify his assumption of command.

The 1st-31st FA has a long and varied history of change and transition, Frambes said.

"I look forward to continuing the honored tradition of transitioning citizens into Soldiers here," Frambes said. "I am humbled, yet excited to enter in this challenge with the Soldiers, leaders and the distinguished drill sergeants."

Frambes acknowledged Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey, 434th FA CSM, who witnessed the casing of the 1st-31st FA unit colors in the 1990s here when he was a drill sergeant in the battalion.

"Command Sergeant Major Lindsey, we look forward to inspiring the pride you feel as a former member of this battalion as our newly assembled team moves forward," Frambes said.

Frambes thanked his wife, Angelia, and their four children, who have attended schools in Tennessee, Germany and Oklahoma within the past eight months.

"You are my ideal Army family, and I am honored and humbled to be able to come home to you each night," he said.

Page last updated Thu January 20th, 2011 at 13:00