Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, are packed and ready for their deployment to Afghanistan, and, as part of that readiness, they participated in a casing of the colors ceremony Jan. 21.

"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 destiny and ensure inspiration for its future," said 1st Lt. Brian Rau, a battalion operations officer for 2-22 Infantry. "The colors lead the unit into battle. 'When in action, resolve not to part with the colors, but with your life.'

"Today, the colors serve as a binding symbol of continuity and point of inspiration for the future," Rau continued. "'Commander and Soldiers come and go, but the colors remain steadfast.'"

The battalion will deploy to Afghanistan over the next two weeks; Soldiers of C Company who deployed earlier this month.

"Our battalion was notified of the requirement to move very quickly to Afghanistan about the middle of December," said Lt. Col. Michael Loos, battalion commander.

Once the unit reaches its destination in Afghanistan, Soldiers will uncase the colors and begin their mission of training the Afghan National Army.

In President Barack Obama's Afghanistan troop surge speech in December, he said we must deny al Qaeda a safe haven, and we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces and government so that they can take the lead responsibility for their future.

This deployment really goes a long way to making these things happen, said Loos.

The battalion is the first of more than 3,000 Soldiers from the brigade who will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom this year.