By Sgt. Kimberly HackbarthJune 24, 2013
FORWARD OPERATING BASE APACHE, Afghanistan - The first subordinate unit of 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, cased its colors in preparation for redeployment during a ceremony June 13 on Forward Operating Base Apache in the Zabul province of Afghanistan.
Soldiers of 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment "Blackhawks" were attached to 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division, during their deployment and operated out of Zabul province instead of the Kandahar province like most of the brigade.
In his farewell speech to his attached unit, the 1st Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division commander, Col. James Crider, noted his first impression of the cavalry unit.
"I was impressed the first time I was introduced to this unit back at [Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.] and they've never failed to produce positive results even under the demanding conditions of combat," said Crider. "Blackhawks are the example of how to conduct successful security force assistance."
Soldiers of the squadron partnered with 2nd Brigade, 205th Afghan National Army Corps and were the original partner for the 2nd Mobile Strike Force, which is now Regional Command- East's only mobile strike force that is combat ready, said Lt. Col. Charles Lombardo, the 2nd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment commander.
"Our major mission was to partner with them, to train and advise and give them the repetitions to take over basically our mission in Zabul, or if they get directed in southern Kandahar," Lombardo explained.
Training back at the brigade's home station of JBLM, Wash., played a big part in the unit's success, said Lombardo.
"It's been a great deployment and I just think that the training strategy that [Col. Michael Getchell, brigade commander] and the [brigade] put together has enabled us to be as successful as we have been," said Lombardo.
As the first subordinate unit in the brigade to case its regimental colors and head home to Washington state, Lombardo said he has expectations for his cavalrymen.
"We're the cavalry squadron, so hopefully we're the first one to be able to go back and reset the footprint for the rest of the [brigade] as we open up a new chapter," Lombardo said. "It is a good feeling."
Lombardo said there are still some preparations for the next chapter.
"We want to make sure we set the new command teams up to have the success and be able to walk in to all the great leaders and formations that we were able to fall in on in 2010," said Lombardo.
In his closing remarks, Crider lauded the squadron for its performance since it arrived in Afghanistan in November 2012.
"You can return home with your heads held high and with the confidence that you did all you could to make Afghanistan a better place," Crider said.