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(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers, Family Members and friends of the 630th Clearance Company gathered Thursday at Monti Physical Fitness Center to conduct the unit's deployment ceremony and to case the company's guidon.

The ceremony began with the posting of the colors, the playing of the national anthem and an invocation.

Afterward, Lt. Col. Michael Clancy, 7th Engineer Battalion commander, addressed audience members.

"You guys are the cutting edge," he said. "There is no route clearance company in history that has ever deployed as trained and ready as you are."

Clancy then recounted a list of training missions and accomplishments the unit has achieved in the past 18 months since the unit last deployed.

"This is an important mission, 'Axmen,'" he said. "You cannot fail, and I know you won't."

After a round of applause, Clan-cy presented the guest speaker, Col. James H. Raymer, commander of 20th Engineer Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C.

"Clearance companies were created to deal with a particular weapon that has killed many Soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan," Raymer said. "This company in particular has trained in the abso-lutely latest equipment and techniques to overcome this weapon.

"Families and friends," he added, "I can assure you, that they are the best-trained, best-led and best-equipped American forces to ever go overseas and fight for our nation."

Raymer concluded by saying that the 630th Clearance Company's mission was a noble one, and they should be proud.

"Make sure that the gains we have accomplished are permanent, so that the Afghan people will never be deprived of their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," he added.

After his remarks, Capt. John Marhevsky, company commander, addressed his Soldiers and those present for the ceremony.

"Axmen, the day is finally here," Marhevsky said. "The next time I see this formation in front of me will be in Afghanistan."

Marhevsky also asked and challenged the Soldiers to maintain the good attitude they have had throughout all of their training here at Fort Drum.

He concluded his speech by addressing his remarks "to the Families seated behind me and to those who could not make it to the ceremony today."

"Your support and unconditional love is what provides us with the motivation and encouragement we need when times are dark and bleak," he said. "The Army tells us when and where to fight, but you are the reason why we fight."

After a round of applause, the ceremony concluded with the Axmen singing their Regimental Song, and everyone joined them in singing the 10th Mountain Division Song and the Army Song.

The 630th Clearance Company will be working out of Camp Leatherneck, which is located in Regional Command - Southwest, under the 315th Engineer Battalion, an Army Reserve unit out of California.