• JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Color guard Soldiers from 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. display the colors before they were cased at Watkins Field, March 30. The Lancer Brigade will deploy this spring to Afghanistan.

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    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Color guard Soldiers from 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. display the colors before they were cased at Watkins Field, March 30. The Lancer Brigade will deploy this spring to Afghanistan.

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Lt. Col. Rich Edwards, left, escorts Col. Barry Huggins on a survey of 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. troops at Watkins Field, March 30. Edwards and Huggins are the Lancer Brigade's deputy commanding officer and commanding officer respectively. The brigade cased its colors last week in preparation for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

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    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Lt. Col. Rich Edwards, left, escorts Col. Barry Huggins on a survey of 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. troops at Watkins Field, March 30. Edwards and Huggins are the Lancer Brigade's deputy commanding officer...

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Soldiers from 2nd BSB, 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. grasp their respective company colors at Watkins Field, March 30. The "Mustang" Battalion joined fellow Soldiers of the "Lancer" Brigade in casing colors in preparation for deployment this spring.

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    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Soldiers from 2nd BSB, 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. grasp their respective company colors at Watkins Field, March 30. The "Mustang" Battalion joined fellow Soldiers of the "Lancer" Brigade in casing colors in...

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Col. Barry Huggins preps 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.'s colors for casing at Watkins Field, March 30. Huggins is commander of the Lancer Brigade.

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    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Col. Barry Huggins preps 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.'s colors for casing at Watkins Field, March 30. Huggins is commander of the Lancer Brigade.

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Af 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. Soldier wears an ISAF patch along with his own "Lancer" insignia at Watkins Field, March 30. The Lancer Brigade cased its colors last week in preparation for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.

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    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Af 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. Soldier wears an ISAF patch along with his own "Lancer" insignia at Watkins Field, March 30. The Lancer Brigade cased its colors last week in preparation for a nine-month...

  • JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Lt. Col. Kolin Bernardoni, 2-17 FA commander, stands with his troops at Watkins Field, March 30. Bernardoni and his battalion, along with the approximately 4,000 Soldiers of the 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. "Lancers," cased their colors in preparation for a spring deployment.

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    JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (March 30, 2012) Lt. Col. Kolin Bernardoni, 2-17 FA commander, stands with his troops at Watkins Field, March 30. Bernardoni and his battalion, along with the approximately 4,000 Soldiers of the 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div...

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. (April 10, 2012) -- Col. Barry Huggins, 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division commander, told Joint Base Lewis-McChord his "Lancer" Brigade will defend America far from her shores and return with honor in remarks at Watkins Field here, last week. His speech highlighted a morning colors-casing ceremony for approximately 4,000 Lancer Brigade Soldiers who will deploy to Afghanistan in upcoming weeks.

Troops from 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. will join approximately 4,000 fellow JBLM troops in Afghanistan, most from 3rd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div.

Fifth Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division redeployed from Afghanistan and reflagged as 2nd Bde., 2nd Inf. Div. in July 2010.

Last February, Huggins said the team expected to deploy for nine months to fight terrorist groups and support Afghan National Security Forces to relieve pressure on dedicated coalition training teams.

Huggins said in his speech March 30, regardless of the road ahead, the Lancers were thankful.

"Decades ago, my father served in Vietnam," he said. "When he came home he arrived alone and he was greeted with silence or worse. Today being a Soldier is very different. When we make our way through the airport it's impossible not to be stopped and thanked."

Huggins went on to thank service members, their families, and civilians throughout JBLM and the South Sound for supporting his brigade since their last return.

Soldiers from the brigade's six battalions and headquarters company, undeterred by recent international incidents, said high professionalism remains a standard across the "Lancer" ranks.

"We're definitely ready," Capt. Jeffery Wollenman, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment fire support officer, said. "I've been with the battalion for about a year. We're a professional organization with good leadership from the top, all the way down to the bottom."

Though the Lancers' colors will be new to the Afghan area of operations, many of the Soldiers who carry it are already battle tested. Almost 40 percent of those deploying with 2nd Bde. this spring have had Afghan mission experience and more than a third have deployed to Iraq.

Though Sgt. 1st Class Raul Cantu arrived five months ago at 2-1 Inf., the platoon sergeant is one of the battalion's seasoned leaders; this will be his fourth deployment and his second to Afghanistan. He said Afghanistan's lack of modern roads, streets and bridges one of its fundamental differences from Iraq.

"When people think of Iraq, they may not realize how developed it is. They have a lot more infrastructure and a lot of the things they have there, we have here," Cantu said. "Afghanistan is a lot less developed. It's very rural and rugged."

As a married Soldier with two children, Cantu said he recognized his wife, Mari, who will experience her first deployment this spring, and the other Lancer families will have a lot on their shoulders in 2012.

"I told her she had the most important job of all," he said. "It's a difficult time for us as a family, but we're strong -- we'll get through it."

He also said most American people might be surprised to find they have more in common with most Iraqis and Afghans than they realize.

"Most of the people I've come across just want to work and provide for their families," he said. "The farmers go out to the fields, work hard to put food on the table, then come home to spend time with their families -- much like us."

Page last updated Tue April 10th, 2012 at 00:00