By Spc. Nathan GoodallDecember 19, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers with 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, 17th Fires Brigade, 7th Infantry Division, gathered for a casing of the colors ceremony at Lewis North, Joint Base Lewis McChord, Wash., Dec. 12.
The Deep Steel battalion cased its colors as is tradition when transporting them to a deployed environment. The battalion colors are a representation of the unit, something to physically hold and see to instill pride. They will be uncased once the battalion assumes its deployed mission.
"It is said that the soul of a unit is symbolized in the colors under which it fights, and in the battle streamers affixed to those colors, as they record the accomplishments of the past, stand guardian over the present and provide inspiration for the unit's future," said Col. Tim F. Kehoe, the 17th Fires Bde. commander, during his speech.
"These colors and our soldiers are about to embark on another historic mission in support of our nation that will add to the legacy and accomplishments of those that have gone before," he said.
While the casing ceremony is one of the first steps toward deployment, Kehoe spoke about how the Deep Steel soldiers were doing something significant already.
"Today is a historic day in that the Deep Steel battalion is the advance party for America's premier HIMARS brigade, [17th Fires Brigade], and its impending deployment," he said.
Kehoe went on to speak about his confidence in the unit, as did Lt. Col. Luis M. Rivera, the 1-94 FA commander.
"Seven months ago, this team, this excellent team of teams, received the deployment order and embraced it with all their heart, mind and soul," Rivera said during his speech. "Over these past months, we have undergone a rigorous, realistic and relevant training cycle that has prepared us for this different type of deployment."
Rivera also spoke about the strength of the families that remain behind during the deployment, and spoke of the battalion's plans to keep them informed and cared for while the soldiers are away. He reminded both the soldiers and the family members that they are all a part of the Deep Steel team, and that they are all a part of this deployment regardless of who is leaving and who is staying.
"Families and soldiers ...remember this during our journey - don't count the days, make every day count!" he said.