KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - A bright and sunny day provided a perfect setting for the official activation ceremony for Europe's first civil affairs brigade. The ceremony took place on Daenner Kaserne's parade field here Sept. 17.

The 361st Civil Affairs Brigade and its subordinate 457th Civil Affairs Battalion were formally added to the rolls of the military as their Soldiers stood in formation on the parade field. Both units are part of the 7th Civil Support Command, the only U.S. Army Reserve command completely stationed abroad.

The Soldiers serving with the brigade are assigned to reserve units located in Germany and Italy. Many of the Army Reserve Soldiers in the brigade were called upon to conduct various missions in support of the 7th CSC, the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, the Joint Multinational Readiness Command, U.S. Army Europe, and U.S. European Command.

In addition, the Army Reserve Soldiers of the 361st CA Bde. provide civil affairs training to NATO members in conjunction with EUCOM's military to military program as well as support missions like Joint Task Force-East in Romania and Bulgaria in 2009, and other missions in areas like Azerbaijan, Uganda and Germany.

"Many of the Soldiers on the field today have been fully engaged in the monumental task of forming this new civil affairs brigade ... which is the first of its kind stationed on foreign soil," said Col. Friedbert Humphrey, the commander of the 361st CA Bde.

Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffery Miller addressed the Soldiers before the activation ceremony on the parade field.

"Stand tall and proud; this is a day that you will remember for the rest of your lives," said Miller, a native of Carlisle, Penn. "I am honored to activate this historical unit here in Europe and to serve as the brigade's first command sergeant major."

In conjunction with the activation ceremony of the 361st CA Bde., the 457th CA Bn. also in Kaiserslautern, activated along with its four line companies in Italy and Germany. Company A is located in Vicenza, Italy. The other three companies are from outlying areas in Germany. Company B is from Bamberg, Company C is from Wiesbaden, and Company D is from Grafenwoehr.

In their civilian jobs, the Army Reserve Soldiers of the brigade and battalion are employed throughout Europe in jobs such as public health professionals, lawyers, water management specialists, sewage plant directors, college professors, unit administrators and engineers. In addition to these broad career fields, they also bring foreign language abilities, such as Arabic, Czech, Korean, Polish, Portuguese, Russian and Swahili.

"My cultural and religious background originating from India and my military specialty, which is animal care specialist and food inspector specialist will be a great asset during deployments and will help support the President's National Security Strategy," said Staff Sgt. Yasmin Khan, Company B, 457th CA Bn., and a native of Tampa, Fla.

The 361st CA Bde. will assist commanders in developing effective working relationships with civil authorities and local populace during peace time, contingency operations and in support of disaster relief efforts.

"Living in a wide variety of European cultures, our civil affairs Soldiers are refining their cultural, language and interpersonal relationship skills on a daily basis." said Humphrey, a native of Augsburg, Germany. "This remarkable unit is well on its way to becoming the premier civil affairs brigade in the Army inventory."