FORT BENNING, Ga. - After a 40-year inactivation period, the 463rd Veterinarian Detachment uncased its colors Friday at Freedom Hall.
The 463rd is one of eight veterinary detachments spread across the U.S., Europe and Korea, and one of two activated this year.
The activation marks the start of a nine-month train-up for the 463rd's summer 2011 deployment to Afghanistan, said LTC Scott Hanna, the detachment's commander, who comes from Landstuhl, Germany, where he was commander of Veterinary Laboratory Europe.
He said the increase in demand for veterinary services in Iraq and Afghanistan was the primary reason the unit was activated.
The 463rd has the dual mission of providing animal medicine - primarily to military working dogs - and food safety and inspections support.
Historically, the crossover from veterinary care to food safety sprouted from when veterinarians were located in slaughter facilities and in meat-processing plants, the detachment commander said.
Today's veterinary detachment Soldiers get training in food safety and how to conduct commercial audits of food-processing plants, he said.
The detachment will partner with the Southeast Regional Veterinary Command for training in preparation for their deployment, said COL George Kenison, the regional commander.
The Southeast Regional Veterinary Command provides installation support to garrison veterinary units including Fort Benning's veterinary clinic.
Veterinarians with the 463rd will train in medical skills - from surgery to patient care - at the post's veterinary clinic, COL Kenison said.
The unit's colors were last unfurled at its activation at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, in 1965 and subsequent deployment to Vietnam as the 463rd Dental Prosthetics Detachment. The unit was deactivated in 1970.
The 463rd will fall under the 14th Combat Support Hospital, 44th Medical Brigade.