By Sgt. Joshua Edwards, 2d Cavalry Regiment Public AffairsMay 15, 2014
ROSE BARRACKS, Germany -- An uncasing of the colors ceremony is the traditional way for military units to formally signify the arrival to or return from an area of operations and in the case of the 2d Cavalry regiment, its end of a combat deployment and the return to its designated home station.
Troopers with the 2d Cavalry Regiment held an uncasing ceremony May 15, 2014, at Rose Barracks, Germany, to mark the end of their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The unit's story began in March 2013 at Hohenfels, Germany. It is a vast area perfectly suited for training the newly formed Security Force Assistance Teams during the Regiment's Mission Readiness Exercise. New mission parameters had been set for their upcoming combat deployment to southern Afghanistan. The new mission would be to advise and provide assistance to Afghan National Army soldiers and the Afghan Uniformed Police that would allow them to become self-sustaining in the fight against terrorism as US Forces withdraw from Afghanistan.
During the MRE the teams ran through various scenarios they would most likely encounter throughout the deployment. Soldiers from Romania traveled to Hohenfels to play the role of Afghan Security Forces to assist with the training. The Romanians provided unique support to the exercise as ANSF as many of the Regiment's soldiers would be working with Afghan forces and local nationals. The success during the training was attributed to a number of organizations at US Army Europe.
"Here you've got USAREUR, JMTC (Joint Multinational Training Center), JMRC (Joint Multinational Readiness Center) and the USAG (U.S. Army Garrison) piece here at Grafenwoehr and Vilseck who helped us to get ready to go to combat at a time when we weren't certain what it was going to look like," said Col. D.A. Sims, commander of 2 CR. "We were creating the security force assistance teams. We hadn't done that before but USAREUR bent over backwards to help us make this work."
After the MRE, 2 CR held a seven-day event called the Week of the Dragoon in May, 2013, in celebration of the 177th birthday of the Regiment before deployment. The week included sporting events, obstacle course, video-game tournaments and ended with a family day.
On July 25, 2013, the Regiment, re-designated as Combined Task Force Dragoon, officially assumed authority over Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, as part of the International Security Assistance Force Regional Command South. The CTF Dragoon SFATs were deployed to a number of Forward Operating Bases and Combat Outposts in order to train, advise and partner with Afghan forces on military operations and help them conduct independent operations. The Regiment would also go on to help ANSF establish security for the April 2014 Afghan presidential elections that would solidify the nation's advancement into a new era of transparent and successful electoral process.
"Local police and Afghan Army all throughout Kandahar Province provided security to the point where there was not a single incident at any of the polling sites in southern Afghanistan," said Sims. "It was really extraordinary. It's not often that a regiment gets a chance to see the fruits of its labor, but at the end of these nine months we were able to see exactly that with the Afghan elections on 5 April. [It was] really the culmination of a tremendous deployment."
CTF Dragoon teamed with ANSF and successfully completed more than 50 missions while in the country including a goodwill mission where Troopers with the regiment and Afghan forces provided local children with toys, blankets and school supplies.
A number of FOBs and COPs were also transferred to ANA control as the transition of US Troops out of the country continued. Each event included the lowering of the American flag at each base and the raising of the Afghanistan flag symbolizing the handoff to Afghan control.
The relinquishment of the bases paved the way to successful mission completion as the Soldiers made their way back to Kandahar Airfield to prepare for the final flight home.
The unit's operations in RC-South officially ended April 6, 2014, with a transfer-of-authority ceremony at Kandahar Airfield. Responsibility for the area was handed over to 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, based out of Fort Carson, Colo. Greeted with heartfelt applause and warm hugs, the last group of the Regiment's Troops arrived back at Vilseck, Rose Barracks, April 11, 2014, marking the end of the unit's mission in Afghanistan.
The final event to formally mark the end of the Dragoon's combat deployment was the uncasing ceremony. The uncasing of the Regimental colors is a storied and historic tradition with the unit deploying twice to both Iraq and Afghanistan. While in transport, to and from the areas of operation, the unit places its colors in a sheath to the next area to commence operations.
"It is fantastic to be home," said Sims. "Since we last gathered as a Regiment in June of last year, the 2d Cavalry Regiment and our families have performed like few other organizations in the Army. Working to retain the reputation our Regiment earned in 2010 and 2011, the current Dragoons drove tirelessly to maintain pressure on the enemy throughout Kandahar Province."
Read more about CTF Dragoon's combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 13-14 in a descriptive narrative Located at the link at the top of the story.