By Andrea Stone (Fort Carson)June 6, 2013
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- For 660 consecutive days, the length of time the 4th Engineer Battalion has had a unit deployed, its colors have flown over Lion's Park, Woodland Park, a partnership that has spanned more than 20 years.
The battalion's colors will continue to fly there awhile longer, as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Forward Support Company cased its colors in a ceremony May 31 in preparation for an upcoming deployment to Afghanistan.
If things go as planned, the colors will continue to fly for an additional 550 days, until every Soldier from the 4th Eng. Bn. returns, according to Lt. Col. Daniel Hibner, battalion commander.
"The colors we cased bear streamers the battalion has earned in campaigns as far back as the Civil War," he said. "Those streamers on our colors were earned by the blood, sweat and, at times, the lives of 4th Eng. Bn. Soldiers over the past 150 years -- engineers and Soldiers that represented this battalion at home and on foreign soils to counter the threats to our great nation -- and again our nation is calling on the 4th Eng. Bn. It's time for us to do our duty with our colors in hand, and when we come back, yet another battle streamer attached."
More than 50 Family and friends came to the event, as the Soldiers prepare to head to Kandahar, their mission to partner with Afghan engineer forces.
"Our presence there isn't going to last much longer, and our success isn't going to be measured by the roads we clear or the roads we build. Our success will be measured by our Afghan partners' ability to clear and build roads," Hibner said.
The last deployment for the headquarters was in 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. After only a month in Iraq, the battalion was reassigned to support Operation Enduring Freedom at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, the same location it will deploy to now.
The Soldiers are ready for this mission, having spent most of the last year preparing.
"I just want to be there already," said Spc. Valerie Neubauer, human resources specialist, of her first deployment. "We have good people going. We've got a lot of good shop cohesion within our company so when we leave, there's no question, no doubt in our minds that we're going to be able to execute our jobs just like we do here."
Even after the units' expected return in early 2014, the colors will continue to fly over Woodland Park, until every unit in the 4th Eng. Bn. returns.