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1 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – The 75th Field Artillery Brigade command team of Col. Ryan McCormack and Command Sgt. Maj. John Black uncase the unit colors Feb. 9, 2021, at Bldg. 4922 at Henry Post Army Airfield here. The brigade’s headquarters returned from a nine-month deployment in the Middle East where they performed High Mobility Artillery Rocket System fires, and other missions in six countries. The guidon bearer was Spc. Thomas Borek (behind McCormack). A HIMARS display served as the backdrop for the uncasing ceremony.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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2 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Col. Ryan McCormack, left, 75th FA Brigade commander, pins a medal on a Soldier after the uncasing ceremony Feb. 9, 2021, at Henry Post Army Airfield. About 40 Soldiers were recognized with awards including Army Commendation, and Meritorious Service medals. Other Soldiers received their medals in-theater.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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3 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Returning Soldiers with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 75th FA Brigade salute the flag during the playing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the uncasing ceremony Feb. 9, 2021, at Fort Sill's Henry Post Army Airfield. Soldiers with the brigade’s 258th Network Support Company also were part of the deployment.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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4 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – After deboarding a bus at the post airfield, one of the first things returning Soldiers did was turn in their sensitive items. Here a Soldier, left, hands in his rifle which will be inventoried. Soldiers also returned their night vision goggles.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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5 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Spc. Cyress Girtman hugs his wife Myleja Hinton Feb. 9, 2021, in the parking lot of the Truman Education Center. Girtman was one of about 120 Soldiers in Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 75th Field Artillery “Diamond” Brigade who returned from the deployment. Hundreds of people from the community waited in freezing temperatures for the arrival of the Soldiers at the lot.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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6 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Maj. Jacob Gatewood, HHB, 75th FA Brigade, reunites with his family Feb. 9, 2021, at the Truman Education Center parking lot. Despite temperatures in the teens, hundreds of family members, friends, fellow Soldiers, and co-workers were there for the arrival. Many families were also seen livestreaming the welcome.
(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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7 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Nathaniel Hance, age 10, and his brother Nicholas, 15, stand in the bed of a pickup truck and scan the crowd searching for their father Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Hance Feb. 9, 2021, at the Truman Education Center parking lot.

(Photo Credit: Jeff Crawley)
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FORT SILL, Oklahoma (Feb. 11, 2021) -- While many people were watching the Super Bowl, Soldiers from the 75th Field Artillery Brigade were flying on a 28-hour journey from the Middle East returning to Fort Sill.

The “Diamond Brigade” Headquarters and Headquarters Battery touched down early Feb. 9 at Oklahoma City, and then were bussed to Lawton.

For the 120 Soldiers it was the end of a nine-month deployment to the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility, with numerous missions in six countries across 1,300 miles.

The 75th FA Brigade colors were uncased  by the command team of Col. Ryan McCormack and Command Sgt. Maj. John Black Feb. 9 at about 6 a.m., at Henry Post Army Airfield. The uncasing ceremony symbolized the return of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, unit from the overseas operational deployment, said McCormack.

“We are excited to be back, and have this great welcome from the Lawton Fort Sill community,” said the colonel.

Missions

The 75th FA Brigade had a dual-hatted role in its deployment, said McCormack.

It was the U.S. Army Central (ARCENT) Force Field Artillery Headquarters (FFA HQ) putting it in command and control of all the field artillery assets in the region. Its other role was as Task Force Spartan’s artillery brigade responsible for supporting Operation Spartan Shield.

The brigade operated predominantly in Jordan and Kuwait, with support missions in Qatar, Syria, and Iraq, the colonel said.

The brigade provided responsive fires and terrain denial fires along with its subordinate 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery to aggressions in the area, McCormack said.

COVID challenge

The brigade had cased its colors at Fort Sill on May 21 in the midst of the pandemic to travel to CENTCOM, but COVID-19 was something they had to deal with in Jordan, too, he said.

“The COVID environment made traveling across the area of responsibility a challenge,” McCormack said. One of the brigade’s sub-missions was to train with its partner brigades: First Rocket Artillery Brigade in Jordan and the Kuwaiti Land Forces Artillery Headquarters.

Sgt. 1st Class David Rowdy Yates, senior fire control sergeant, said the unit was involved in about 50 live-fire missions during the deployment.

Yates said he received a lot of his Soldiers right from Advanced Individual Training, so the deployment was literally a trial by fires for the neophyte fire control specialists.

“We did a lot of training there while we were on 12-hour shifts,” Yates said. This included digital crew drill missions, and training to fight a peer threat.

“We definitely ingrained the processes into our young Soldiers, and they gained a lot of knowledge,” he said. “I was very pleased.”

During the ceremony, McCormack addressed the formation of his returning Soldiers.

“Every Soldier had a role, and I’m proud to be a part that we played in deterring our adversaries, and the support that we gave to our partners,” he said.

Highlights

McCormack recounted the numerous mission highlights.

•The brigade’s establishment of the FFA HQ in Jordan, had not happened since 2016.

•In addition to live-fires missions, Soldiers participated in over 2,000 operational rehearsal missions supporting Combined Forces.

•Soldiers maintained and optimized weapons-locating radar to protect Coalition Forces.

•Medical Soldiers provided excellent health care, and led the COVID response effort in Jordan.

•Noncommissioned officers trained and educated 22 junior Soldiers through the Basic Leaders Course, a critical component of the brigade’s select, train, educate, and promote process.

•Soldiers led the consolidation of the ARCENT HIMARS battalion’s command and control, and key sustainment functions.

•Soldiers completed the closure and demolition of Camp Red Leg in December, and as part of that led the transport of millions of dollars worth of equipment from the United Arab Emirates to Kuwait.

•The team developed and led several theater security-cooperation training events with partners in Kuwait and Jordan.

• Black and NCOs codified the base piece of the brigade’s People First and This is My Squad initiatives in October.

Concluding the ceremony, McCormack said: “The price we pay for success in life is often high. So are the rewards, and these rewards are not just treasure and money, not trophies, award recognitions … the rewards are the respect, loyalty, love, and trust of the people that surround you.

“To the Diamond Brigade Soldiers, leaders, family members, and friends: You have my trust,” he said.