FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- There could not be a more perfect day to hold an activation ceremony on Rafferty Field as the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and Fort Bragg Community activated the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion, Sept. 25.

Warrior Diplomats from the newly activated 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion unfurled their colors for the first time in the presence of leadership from the John F Kennedy Special Warfare Training Center, and the veterans from the 41st Civil Affairs Company.

"I can think of no better home for the 83rd CA Battalion than Fort Bragg and the Fayetteville community," said Col. Leo J. Ruth II, commander of the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade. "The 83rd CA Battalion will play a critical role in supporting our long term partners and our newly formed partners Iraq and Afghanistan in the near future."

The 83rd CA battalion is setup specifically to support operations conducted within the US Central Command area of responsibility, which is predominately the Middle East to include the Sinai and the Horn of Africa. These teams, while operating in a small four-person team, can provide the critical part in mission success for the commander on the ground.

"This unit provides the commander a team with different language skills, our Soldiers are trained with different negotiation skills as well as the very tactical skills necessary to operate as a small unit," said Lt. Col. William Rice, Commander of the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion.

The 83rd Ca Battalion also hosted some special visitors who attended the ceremony. These guests were veterans from the 41st Civil Affairs Company. The battalion's lineage will continue to live on, as the 83rd CA Battalion will take the lead.

"It's incredible to start off with a brand new unit with such a history of the 41st Civil Affairs Company," said Rice.

The 41st Civil Affairs Company conducted civil affairs operations inside Nhu Trang, Vietnam from 1965 thru 1970. Their mission was to bolster faith in the Republic of Vietnam Government by helping to "win the hearts and minds" of the rural population by assisting with construction, agriculture, medical, economic, and educational programs that will improve standard of living within the population.

"Before, we were operating by the seat of our pants," said Cmd. Sgt. Maj. (retired) Jimmie Gonzalez, 70, of San Antonio, Texas. "It is great to see this unit getting it figured out with the current training and equipment these Soldiers are using when it comes to conducting civil affairs."

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Warrior diplomats from the newly activated 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion, along with other diplomats from the 85th Civil Affairs Brigade and other various units from across Fort Bragg, N.C. all joined together with friends and family to celebrate the activation of the second civil affairs battalion to support conventional military forces in support of Central Command operations. The 83rd CA Battalion is under the command of Lt. Col. William Rice and Command Sgt. Maj. Devon Lewis. Also joining the celebration were members of the 41st Civil Affairs Company which was deactivated after 1975, as these members were very active in conducting negotiations and civil affairs operations within Vietnam. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office)

Lt Col William Rice and Cmd Sgt Maj. Devon Lewis unfurl the Battalion colors as a symbol of the unit activation. The 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion mission is to organize, train, equip and deploy forces in support of operations under U.S. Central Command area of operations. The 83rd CA Battalion in any environment, to conduct Civil Affairs operations to mitigate civil vulnerabilities in order to advance U.S. goals and policies within relevant foreign populations, in support of combatant commanders and U.S. ambassadors. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office)

During the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion Activation ceremony on Tuesday Sept. 25, the Battalion hosted not only members from across the Fort Bragg community, but also some very special guests who served with the 41st Civil Affairs Company in Vietnam (from left): retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmie Gonzalez, 70, of San Antonio; Ray Sullivan, 68, of San Mateo, Calif.; and Earl Palmer, 72, of Gainesville, Ga. They served between 1967 and 1970. The 41st CA Battalion's great history will live on as the 83rd Civil Affairs Battalion will continue its lineage into the future. (Photo by Maj. Bryan Woods, 85th Civil Affairs Brigade Public Affairs Office)

Page last updated Fri September 28th, 2012 at 00:00