FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Approximately 150 Soldiers of the 14th Military Intelligence Battalion boarded an aircraft on Kelly Field July 26 on their way to Iraq.
Earlier they said goodbye to their Families at Fort Sam Houston before boarding the four buses that took them to the air field.
They will provide interrogation support to the commander of Multinational Forces Iraq and expect to be in country for one year.
The battalion cased its colors July 22 in an official ceremony marking temporary relocation from FSH to Iraq in the post's historic Quadrangle. Casing the colors symbolizes a pause in the unit's life cycle at its home station. On arrival in Iraq, the unit will uncase its colors and assume responsibility for the mission.
"The very soul of a military unit is symbolized in the colors under which it fights, for they record the glories of the past, stand guardian over its present, and ensure inspiration for its future," said Col. James Lee, commander of the 470th MI Brigade, in a speech at the casing ceremony.
The 14th MI Battalion is a subordinate unit of the 470th MI Brigade, headquartered on FSH. The battalion, reactivated Oct. 16, 2008, carries the lineage and honors of a battalion originally activated in November 1965. Prior to reactivation last year, Soldiers anticipated deployment and trained continuously the last 10 months.
"Their training was complex and executed at multiple installations providing realistic conditions similar to those found in Baghdad," Lee said. "These Soldiers will face many hardships. Yet, despite challenges, these Soldiers will look their enemy in the eye, question them, gain intelligence for commanders."
Lt. Col. Greg Meyer, battalion commander, said the battalion's Soldiers and their Families worked hard over the last year getting ready for their mission. "We are looking forward to the opportunity to contribute to our nation's success in Iraq," said the San Antonio native. "Many of us have already invested a lot in the future of that country."
"Like every deployment away from home, it will be a bitter sweet occasion as we leave our Families and loved ones for a year," Meyer continued. "However, we have a great team and will rely on each other as great teams do."