By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)March 2, 2018
The 509th Clearance Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, cased its colors during a ceremony Feb. 21 in Fort Leonard Wood's Nutter Field House. The ceremony was preparation for the unit's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.
Soldiers with the 509th will provide route clearance for the Army's 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, ensuring the SFAB's mobility in the region.
Security Force Assistance Brigades are specialized units whose core mission is to conduct training, advising, enabling and accompanying operations with allied and partner nations. The 1st SFAB, out of Fort Benning, Georgia, has been training and building up teams and equipment since the summer of 2017 and recently held their activation and color-casing ceremonies in preparation for deployment.
"(Combat engineer companies) exist in the Army's impressive catalog of capabilities to get maneuver and other forces on to their tactical objectives in contested terrain," said Lt. Col. James Cook, 5th Engineer Battalion commander. "The Army has now called upon these Soldiers to perform that mission for our very first Security Force Assistance Brigade. The 509th Clearance Company Renegades will quite literally be clearing the way for the 1st SFAB."
Cook said the "superbly-led and highly-trained" 509th has the newest and best route-clearing equipment in the engineer regiment's inventory, making them the best unit for the mission.
Capt. Joshua Miles, 509th Clearance Company commander, said their mission ties into the new South Asia strategy unveiled by the president in August.
"The 509th is on the leading edge of this new strategy, and the capabilities that we bring to the war in Afghanistan are desperately needed," Miles said. "As the new and highly-publicized Security Force Assistance Brigade and other coalition forces execute partnered missions, we will clear those hazards to safeguard those specially selected and trained Soldiers on their way to extremely perilous objectives."
Miles said the Soldiers are looking forward to writing the next chapter of the 509th while earning their place in its history.