SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - More than 100 Soldiers from the 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command cased their unit's colors during a deployment ceremony, May 13, in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in support of the Central Command's Materiel Recovery Element mission.

"This deployment is consistent with the long line of outstanding combat performances of the many Soldiers that have fought under these colors in the past going back to World War II," said Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lyons, commander of the 8th TSC.

The 45th will be the sole brigade dedicated to the CENTCOM Materiel Recovery Element or CMRE in Afghanistan, centering on the tracking, sorting, and recovery of Army equipment from the entire country of Afghanistan, a country the size of Texas, back to the U.S.

"Upon arrival, they will assume command over two engineer battalions, one combat sustainment support battalion, and the responsibility for the performance oversight of a wide range of contractor support," Lyons said. "In addition they will be the lead coordination element for the synchronization of strategic providers like the U.S. Transportation Command, the Defense Logistics Agency, the Army Materiel Command, and many others."

It marks new ground for the logistics unit. Previous deployments placed the 45th at the forefront of sustainment capabilities, supporting Operation Enduring Freedom in 2009 and 2012, and providing support to multiple combat units through human resources, transportation, and supply.

"This is a very historic mission for our Army," said Col. Gregory Boyd, commander of the 45th Sustainment Bde. "We are responsible for completing operations on all Operation Enduring Freedom sites before the theater transitions to the Resolute Support Mission post-2014."

In preparation for their deployment, the unit underwent a 14-day certification exercise at the Mission Command Training Center on Schooled Barracks.

"The certification was a check to see what we're good on, what areas we need to work on, and where we need to be to fulfill the real world mission," said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Evans, battle captain for the 45th Sustainment Bde.

The training mimicked real-world scenarios, and the staff was expected to work together to figure out solutions. Participants included the 1st Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) out of Fort Hood, Texas; senior mentors from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; Department of the Army civilians; and observers from the 82nd Sustainment Brigade, the unit currently running the CMRE mission.

Closing the deployment ceremony, a moment of silence allowed deploying Soldiers to reflect on their challenging mission ahead before being released to their family and friends in the audience.

"This mission requires adaptive, innovative, resilient Soldiers, as well as committed, competent leaders of character," Lyons concluded. "Fortunately, these traits are consistent with the reputation of the 45th Sustainment Brigade."