NASHVILLE, Tn — On February 3, 2023, the 101st Airborne Division’s 1st “Bastogne” Brigade Combat Team cased their colors in a ceremony marking their upcoming deployment to Europe. The ceremony took place at the Music City Center in Nashville during the Bastogne Ball.
The time-honored military tradition of casing a unit’s colors symbolizes an organization’s movement from one place to another. In this instance, the Bastogne Brigade is preparing to relocate from its home in Fort Campbell, KY, to the U.S. Army European Command area of operations for what is scheduled to be a nine-month deployment.
“The Bastogne Brigade is ready to assume the critical mission of assuring our NATO allies and deterring Russian aggression on NATO’s eastern flank,” said Col. Kevin Sharp, commander of the 1st BCT, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). “Nearly 80 years ago, Soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division fought in the Battle of the Bulge, and our brigade now proudly claims the nickname of Bastogne. Today, we are ready to secure the peace in Europe that was built on the sacrifices of those first Soldiers of the 101st Airborne.”
Elements of the brigade will begin departing in late February in support of the U.S. Army V Corps mission to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank. The colors will be uncased in Romania in the beginning of March, and a majority of 1st Brigade personnel are expected to arrive in Europe by the middle of that month. In total, over 4,000 “Bastogne” soldiers will participate in multinational exercises with partner militaries, allowing them to assure U.S. partners and Allies in the region while also deterring further Russian aggression.
1st Brigade, along with the 10th Mountain Division’s headquarters element from Fort Drum, NY, will replace the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division as part of the increase in U.S. military presence in Europe, which will continue at least through the rest of 2023.