Family and friends bid farewell to Soldiers from the oldest continuously serving active duty unit in the American military as 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team, held its deployment ceremony on May 5.

With picture perfect weather, this was the first deployment ceremony for the brigade to be held outside since the year began. The picture-perfect weather was fitting for the last deploying battalion in 'Devil Brigade'. Guests including retired colonels and sergeants major, all honored the Soldiers who have prepared 1-5 Field Artillery for its upcoming deployment to Iraq.

The thunderous sound of the firing of 'Old Thunder,' a replica of a 1764 cannon, signified the start of the ceremony. As the smoke cleared, the Soldiers and their leaders marched to their positions in platoon formation. They stood before their Families and waited to hear encouraging words from the command group.

Since learning of their deployment to Iraq in January, the battalion has been vigorously working to become mission-ready. Some of their training included Net Warrior, Special Skills Training and live fire exercises.

After so much training, Lt. Col. Keith Casey, the battalion commander, said he was anxious to start the mission. "I'm excited. This is probably the indicator that we are going to get on a plane and head to Iraq and join our parent brigade, the 'Devil' Brigade," said Casey.

Lt. Col. Eric Timmerman, Provisional Commander of 1st Heavy Brigade Combat Team (Rear), acknowledged the hard work and dedication the battalion put forth. "They kept themselves and their skills honed to a razor sharp edge for the deployment they knew would come at any time," Timmerman said.

Nicknamed "Hamilton's Own," for its lineage of serving under Alexander Hamilton in the Revolutionary War, 1-5 Field Artillery is accustomed to success, most recently during ten years of involvement within Iraq and Afghanistan.

The many months of preparation that 'Hamilton's Own' has dedicated itself is about to manifest. Timmerman praised the Soldiers for maintaining their focus.

"1-5 Field Artillery battalion has been a unit possessed; possessed with a firm commitment and a pursuit of excellence that's become representative of our resilient Army today," Timmerman said.

The unit watched as their colors were cased signifying a major step of their deployment. With confidence and faith in the training and leadership, Timmerman gave his lasting words. "This 'Hamilton's Own' team stands ready to answer our nation's call."

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