By Sgt. 1st Class Mark BellOctober 30, 2008
BIRMINGHAM, Ala., -- During a small casing ceremony held Sept. 21, Maj. Gen. Charles Gorton lowered the "Wildcat" colors for the last time as the 81st Regional Readiness Command.
As the Army's oldest patch slowly disappeared into the blue fabric, Command Sgt. Maj. Roxanne Castille, the senior enlisted Soldier assigned to the command, ensured the colors were encased with care and to signify another chapter closed in the Wildcat history book.
As Castille passed the colors to a Solder dressed in authentic World War II uniform, the Wildcat began the 270-mile journey to 90 years ago at, then, Camp Jackson, S.C., as the 81st Regional Support Command, where Gorton is assigned at the commander.
Soldiers adopted the name "Wildcat" Division, from Wildcat Creek, which flowed through Camp Jackson. The commander, Maj. Gen. Charles Bailey, instructed the 81st Division to create and field the "first unit patch of the Army" in 1918.
"From their early beginnings as doughboys, to operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom- 'Wildcats' have always led the way by providing mobility, counter-mobility, survivability and combat service support.," Gorton told the small crowd that included past commanders and senior enlisted Soldiers.
Gorton said the credo of 'Wildcats Never Quit" defines the spirit and agility of the 81st regional readiness command.
He said Wildcat Soldiers are the heroes that keep people optimistic about new command's future.
"In casing the 81st RRC colors for the final time - many of us have experienced a moment of nostalgia and reflection - but this is not a moment for sadness," Gorton said. "Rather than mourning the end of an era,' this moment is, to the contrary, a moment for celebration."
Gorton reminded the Soldiers that the Army transformation has a significant impact on all Reservists.
"The 81st RSC is a new structure, designed to meet new challenges, but we are committed to holding the legacy of the entire command close to our hearts," he said. "The important thing to remember is the rich history of the 81st RRC will not be lost."
He said the Army has always needed superior soldiers during times of war as well as peace.
"Reorganization will take the 81st Regional Readiness Command out of the formation, but there will always be a place for wildcats in the new formation known as the 81st Regional Support Command," Gorton said.