Soldiers of the 420th Engineer Brigade cased their colors Monday, Dec. 11, signifying the end of their rotation in support of Operations Spartan Shield, Inherent Resolve and Freedom's Sentinel in the Gulf region and the transfer of authority to the 35th Engineer Brigade.
Before the 420th En. Bde. prepared to make their way back to Brian, Texas, they made preparations to ensure the success of the incoming 35th En. Bde. from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri and shared lessons learned.
Maj. Gen. Victor Braden, commanding general of the 35th Infantry Division, Task Force Spartan, addressed both brigades and provided insight to the importance of the mission.
"The mission will continue to evolve in complexity and uncertainty," said Braden. "However, your purpose here remains the same. Your purpose is to deter aggression in the region; to protect the strategic resources on the western side of the Arabian Gulf; and to assure our regional partners through increased support."
Col. Randy Groves, 420th Engineer Brigade commander, touted the accomplishments of his team and explained their formula for success.
"We've worked in eight countries and increased the force protection and quality of life for Soldiers in three named operations," said Groves. "And everywhere we go, they're singing our praises. Some of us have worked in remote and austere locations. But everywhere we go, they know we've been there. The engineers are doing quality work."
Groves explained how his team had become a true theater asset by implementing his initial guidance of "don't take no for an answer" and "always starting with yes."
"Each of you took this [guidance] to heart and propelled this brigade forward," said Groves. "We tackled some tough issues. As a brigade, we've challenged the norm and moved from a simple concept to a functioning, holistic, theater asset."
The 420th Engineers paved the way to ensure a smooth transition for their successors. Groves addressed incoming 35th Engineer Brigade commander, Col. Anthony (Tony) Adrian in his parting remarks.
"Tony, I know you and your team are eager to get to work. We've provided the best relief-in-place we can so you can get into the fight. We've set conditions for you, so that you can truly assume the role as a theater engineer brigade. You and your team are coming into a time of great change-I know you will do well."
Adrian explained that he and his troops had spent the past 18 months as a "laser-focused" team in preparation for their mission.
"The 35th Engineer Brigade is well-trained, fit and ready to assume this mission," said Adrian. "We're honored and humbled by the challenge and the opportunity to once again be part of the great Santa Fe team."
The 420th Engineer Brigade's transitional preparations were much appreciated by the incoming brigade.
"I want to thank the 420th Engineers for this exceptionally thorough transition-you've really set us up for success, and I appreciate it," said Adrian. "You introduced the concept of the theater engineer brigade and set the wheels in motion to make it a reality. It was exactly the right thing to do at the right time. It will result in a more synchronized and efficient, effective engineer effort in support of all three major operations in theater."
Braden praised the work of the 420th Engineer Brigade and emphasized the continuing importance of the mission to the region.
"The 420th Engineer Brigade has demonstrated to our partners, our nation, and to our adversaries the greatness of our modern military," said Braden. "That greatness has been exhibited in a complex, ever-changing and uncertain operational environment. It has been done by agile and adaptive leaders from the command team of Col. Groves and Sgt. Maj. Brown. This mission requires commanders who provide clear intent, and empower agile and adaptive leaders to exercise discipline and initiative, and it requires women and men who have honed their Soldiering skills; Soldiers who embrace in word and in action a culture of dignity and respect. It requires Soldiers who strive to be comprehensively fit and Soldiers who take pride in their readiness and their individual and organizational equipment."