JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - The 7th Infantry Division held a deployment ceremony May 19, to commemorate the departure of a headquarters element that will assume the Train, Advise and Assist Command - South mission in Afghanistan.
The 7th Inf. Div. Commander, Maj. Gen. Terry Ferrell, presented a set of cased colors to Task Force Bayonet Commander TAAC-S, Brig. Gen. Paul Bontrager and Sgt. Maj. Karl Zaglauer.
"We've sent a lot of Soldiers downrange into combat over the last 15 years, so it's important that we don't become complacent whenever we ask Americans to go forward on difficult missions," Bontrager said. "When our country called to see if we could go do something hard overseas - we were ready."
The division headquarters officially reactivated in October 2012, and this will be the first time 7th Inf. Div. Soldiers will deploy since Operation Just Cause in Panama, 1989.
The ceremony in front of Harrison Hall was a prime opportunity for leaders across JBLM to formally send off 7th Inf. Div. Soldiers for their mission of up to one year overseas.
Human Resources Technician Chief Warrant Officer 2 Detricia Wikstrom has a spouse currently deployed in Afghanistan with a Ranger unit, and will be leaving her son Isaiah with her mother at JBLM.
"This is my job, I do it because I love it," Wikstrom said. "I knew when I signed on there would be times in my life when I would have to make the decision to leave family behind, so we've been preparing. Everything that I do today is making a better life for Isaiah."
The Soldiers will provide a mission command node in support of operations in Southern Afghanistan. The division staff assembled a team led by Bontrager consisting of staff officers, noncommissioned officers and Soldiers, as well as key leaders and Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y.
"Task Force Bayonet is prepared and ready for this combat deployment and I can confidently report that the Soldiers that serve under these colors are well trained in the tasks that they must accomplish," Bontrager said.
Task Force Bayonet will assume responsibility from the 1st Cavalry Division on June 10, taking on the Security Forces Assistance mission as well as support of Operation Resolute Support.