FORT KNOX, Ky.- Braving the elements, the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division marched to their deployment ceremony in a time-honored tradition.
The ceremony draws its history from hundreds of years of family and friends saying goodbye to their loved ones as they prepare to deploy. The 3/1 IBCT held their deployment ceremony at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 9 at Brooks Field on Fort Knox.
The brigade is scheduled to deploy in early winter to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their mission will be to assist Afghan National Security Forces in protecting the Afghan people, neutralize the insurgency, and set the conditions necessary for successful transition of regional control to the Afghan government.
The deployment ceremony is a military tradition which acts as a farewell to departing soldiers and recognizes the sacrifices they and their families will make in defense of the country. During the ceremony, the brigade colors were also ceremoniously cased in preparation for overseas travel.
Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commanding general of U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, presided over the ceremony. The ceremony marks the beginning of a year-long deployment and commitment to helping the Afghan government and combating the insurgency, Freakley said.
Freakley advised the soldiers to "trust in your training, trust in your equipment, trust in your leaders, be ready and you will prevail."
Hundreds of the Brigade's soldiers marched to the parade field in formation. Along with the ceremony, military displays including various weapons systems, a Chinook and a Blackhawk were featured.
The Duke Brigade moved from Fort Hood, Texas to Fort Knox in October, 2009. Since arriving, they have conducted training designed to prepare them for the rigors of combat, said Lt. Col. Alan Streeter, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment.
"The training program was exactly what they needed," Streeter said. "It was well designed. They've been through some tough training."
In just over a year, the brigade has built their personnel strength to over 3,500 soldiers, organized and trained six combat-ready battalions to combat proficiency and integrated 9,000 separate types of military equipment.
The support of the community played a large part in making the deployment ceremony a success, Streeter said. He hoped they would continue to support the brigade once they had deployed.
"The ceremony was an opportunity to see soldiers who were ready and willing to go to war. It was an honor to be able to see that," said Capt. Martisse Dettmer, with the Fort Knox Staff Judge Advocate, whose husband is deploying with 3/1 IBCT.
US Army Photos by Spc. Tobey White
2- Lt. Gen. Benjamin Freakley, commanding general of U.S. Army Accessions Command and Fort Knox, and Col. Christopher Toner, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, ride in a vintage World War II vehicle to inspect the troops on Thursday, Dec. 9 at Brooks Field, Fort Knox, Ky. The 3/1 IBCT is scheduled to deploy in early winter to eastern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.