September 17, 2012
FORT CARSON, Colo. - One-hundred-and-sixty-four Soldiers and four horses stood side-by-side here Sept. 15 as the 440th Civil Affairs Battalion unfurled its unit colors for the first time.
The 440th held its first battle assembly in September 2011 and has spent the past year filling its ranks with new and veteran Soldiers. The ceremony officially commissioned the unit into the U.S. Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne).
Spc. Matthew Taylor, a former infantryman, has been with the unit since April and is excited to be a part of it.
"Six months ago I didn't even know Civil Affairs existed, but now I'm standing one up," he said. "As the Army shifts from warfighting to helping foreign populaces and building relationships, Civil Affairs will be a big part of that, and I'm really proud to be a part of this."
The 440th plans to conduct a myriad of operations throughout the Pacific Command area of responsibly and has a number of positions available for Civil Affairs Soldiers who have Mandarin Chinese and Korean language specialties.
Command Sgt. Maj. Aaron Miller, the battalion's command sergeant major, expects the 440th to augment ongoing operations and unit responsibilities throughout PACOM.
"If you want to see PACOM, 440th is the place to be," said Miller.
There are other, more pressing missions to be tackled first, according to Miller.
"We are working on building our Soldiers through the Noncommissioned Officer Education system," he said. "Then, we will begin to build toward team, platoon and then company level training. We have a long way to go."
Lt. Col. Damone Garner, the 440th's commander, is well aware of the monumental task ahead of him, but is confident his leadership, especially his NCO corps, is up to the task.
"I'm building this battalion based off the NCO corps," he said. "They are the backbone of the Army and this battalion, they are leading the way, and the only way to lead is through the NCO corps.
"We are very much an NCO-led battalion," Garner said.
Garner and Miller unfurled the unit colors together, signifying both the commissioning of the unit and Garner's assumption of command.
"Being a commander is the best job in the Army," Garner said. "Taking care of troops, ensuring they are trained and ready for war; I can't think of a better job."
Garner said standing up the unit was a unique opportunity to leave his footprint, by setting the standard for the future of the unit.
"Today is an historic day," he said. "To stand up a new battalion is a very audacious task; it's challenging but very rewarding."