By Staff Sgt. Jennifer Bunn, 2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO NCOICApril 16, 2015
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Allons Soldiers stood tall and proud in formation as their battalion colors were furled during a casing ceremony April 8 at Magrath Sports Complex on Fort Drum.
Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team completed one of the last remaining steps before heading off to Afghanistan.
"This is an important ceremony within the life cycle of this illustrious unit," said Col. David Doyle, 2nd BCT commander. "(It) sets forth the path for 2-15 FA and their brothers in arms … who are preparing to deploy with them."
Soldiers of 2-15 FA are no strangers to deployments. They have deployed several times since the war on terrorism began, and in 2013, Alpha Company earned the Henry A. Knox Award from the U.S. Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Okla., for their outstanding contributions to the fight.
Although Afghan security forces are already taking the lead and protecting their country in the fight against insurgent forces throughout Afghanistan, Allons Soldiers will provide assistance, advice and some training to the Afghan leadership.
Also within their scope of responsibility is to protect coalition bases.
"This mission will be difficult and dangerous, but it is critical to help the security of the Afghan nation," Doyle said.
The 2-15 FA is the first battalion of 2nd BCT to leave for deployment this summer. Doyle continued to say that the Allons battalion is exactly the right one to accomplish this mission and the Soldiers are magnificently trained and prepared for their role as vanguard of the Commando deploying forces.
"The leaders in this organization are talented and dedicated. They care about Soldiers, they care about Families and they absolutely care about mission accomplishment," he said.
During the past year, the Allons Soldiers have taken on several challenging training opportunities to ready themselves for their upcoming mission, including Mountain Peak on Fort Drum and a rotation at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.
They also braved sub-zero temperatures during a snowstorm this February to conduct a fires support coordination exercise, Operation Commando Phoenix. The rest of the post was closed due to the inclement weather on a couple of those days.
"Allons always finish the race. They are tough (and) resilient, and I would fly to any continent with them," Lt. Col Kevin Jackson, 2-15 FA commander, said proudly of his battalion after talking about the successful winter exercise.
So, now that the colors are cased, they will travel with the battalion to Afghanistan.
Once the unit begins combat operations, the colors will be uncased and displayed in the unit's area.
In conclusion, Doyle said confidently, "This team is well-prepared, well-focused and ready to go where others dare not go."