FORT HOOD, Texas -- While looking back on its tumultuous, but rewarding year, the 211th Regional Support Group transferred authority of the Hood Mobilization Brigade to the 209th Regional Support Group here on Sadowski Parade Field, Jan. 29.
Recalling his speech from March 6, 2020, Col. David Dean, commander of the 211th RSG, said the unit’s crest is a palm tree, the only tree that can withstand the high winds of a hurricane, by adapting and being flexible.
“Within two weeks of assuming the Hood Mob. Bde., the calm winds of normal mob and demob operation suddenly turned into a COVID hurricane, which would affect thousands of Army Reserve and National Guardsmen,” Dean explained.
With troops arriving from overseas and others traveling from all across the country to mobilize out of North Fort Hood, quarantine procedures were quickly put into place to prevent the spread of the virus.
“Little did they know that COVID was coming at them like a freight train at speed,” Maj. Gen. Gerald Strickland, III Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general for support (U.K.), said about the 211th RSG. “The situation changed. The need to get Soldiers mobilized for operations didn’t go away, but it became a lot more complicated and it is a testament to their efforts that we did not skip a beat.”
The unit of 84 Soldiers weathered the COVID-19 storm, while facilitating the mobilization and demobilization of troops through North Fort Hood. Working closely alongside First Army – Division West, the Hood Mob. Bde. handles the logistical side of mobilizing and demobilizing Army Reserve and National Guard units.
Just like the palm tree in the 211th RSG crest, they adapted and remained flexible throughout the process, figuring out ways Soldiers could safely complete their essential training. In less than one year, they mobilized and demobilized 260,000 troops from more than 750 units, shipped 10,000 weapons, completed medical checks, organized the quarantine process and figured out how some Soldiers could work remotely to reduce exposure to the virus.
“It has been a Herculean effort by the whole team under the expert leadership of Col. Dean and (Command) Sgt. Maj. Brashears,” Strickland added. “But today is about change. I know that we will see the same approach to duty and commitment to excellence from the new team, under Col. Statham and (Command) Sgt. Maj. Carr.”
Col. George Statham III, commander of the 209th RSG from Kansas City, Missouri, accepted the Hood Mob. Bde. colors, and its symbolic responsibilities, from Strickland. In accepting the colors, Statham and Command Sgt. Maj. Samuel Carr became the 12th command team of the Hood Mob. Bde.
Statham said he realizes there is no pause for reflection because the mission is constant and he is excited to see his team in action.
“We hold the incredible accomplishments of the 211th in the highest regard,” he added. “We look forward to taking on the task of maintaining the very high standard they have set in the past year.”