By Laura Levering, Fort Gordon Public Affairs OfficeJune 5, 2015
FORT GORDON, Ga. (June 5, 2015) - The 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion cased its colors during a ceremony May 27 at Barton Field, bringing it closer to the end of a chapter in history.
The battalion is moving to Fort Stewart, Georgia, located about 125 miles south of Fort Gordon.
The Department of the Army alerted 35th Signal Brigade (Theater Tactical) of the move in July 2014, ordering 63rd ESB with developing and carrying out an operational plan. Col. Robert Edmonson II, commander of 35th TTSB, commended the battalion for its dedication to the added mission, emphasizing it was no easy task.
"The order was brief yet complex: relocate your formation and their families from Fort Gordon to Fort Stewart," Edmonson said. "And as if that were not enough of a task, the 63rd was asked to do so while maintaining an on-call Rapid Response Force in support of United States Army North and the homeland."
The move is being done in phases, with the casing ceremony being one of its final steps.
A majority of the battalion's 400-plus troops and their families are already at Fort Stewart, and the rest will soon follow.
The Department of the Army designated July 15 as the deadline for the battalion to be settled in. Everything from vacating and closing sites to packing and moving equipment -- with families in tow -- was done while maintaining daily operations.
"We took the entire battalion and had to move as a formalized unit with fami ly member s , al l while doing our day jobs, and not detaching from the mission as we transition from one location to another," explained Lt. Col. Tia Benning, 63rd ESB commander.
The 63rd ESB will remain under 35th TTSB's command, but will fall on the 3rd Infantry Division's footprint. And while its mission of providing signal support will not change, the battalion's training possibilities will likely enhance its readiness.
"With added opportunities to enhance exercise participation, train closer with brigade combat teams or other functional commands, I'm confident that the overall missionreadiness of the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion will soar to even greater heights," Edmonson said. "This is a win-win."
Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Knott, 63rd ESB command sergeant major, echoed similar remarks.
"I feel great about the opportunity to be closer to the warfighter," Knott said. "The Soldiers feel great about it. They're happy. It's a good move."
Benning described the ceremony as "bittersweet." Since taking command in November 2014, Benning said the battalion has received an outpouring of support from Fort Gordon.
"We are grateful to those who made our transition tolerable -- mainly to the Fort Gordon Garrison, to include housing, transportation, finance, (Central Issue Facility), medical and dental facilities, and many others," Benning said. "We would not have been successful without your patience and support."
Benning thanked the greater Augusta area for embracing its service members and families as one of their own over the last 23 years.
"Just as we provided honorable service to our nation during combat operations to include World War II, Vietnam, War in Southwest Asia in support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm, as well as Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom, we will continue to add to the legacy of this outstanding organization by continuing to answer the call for premier signal support … and we can do it with ease from Fort Stewart, Georgia," Benning said. "Although not physically here, Fort Gordon remains our primary reach back capability for signal support and professional development."
The 63rd ESB's history dates back to July 1, 1940, when it was constituted in the Army, and later activated on June 1, 1941, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana. The battalion reorganized and relocated several times since its constitution. Its last reassignment was from Fort Huachuca, Arizona, to Fort Gordon on Feb. 19, 1998.