FORT EUSTIS, Va (Jan. 28) - Soldiers of the 7th Sustainment Brigade stood shoulder to shoulder at Fort Eustis' Anderson Field House this morning for a 10 a.m. deployment ceremony. The brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Special Troops Battalion, and the 53rd Transportation Battalion, officially cased their unit colors and bid a fond farewell to family and friends in light of their pending deployment to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Standing before family, friends and fellow Soldiers Lt. Col. Steven Wilke, STB commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Harris, cased the STB colors followed by the casing of the 53rd Transportation Battalion colors by commander, Lt. Col. Corey New, and Command Sgt. Maj. Bruce Acker.

Colonel Lawrence Kominiak, brigade commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Tony Escalona, formally cased the brigade's colors. The casing of the colors symbolizes the transfer of mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation New Dawn and is a time honored military tradition.

Though the majority of the brigade's headquarters element will be forward deployed the garrison mission will continue with operations being conducted by the rear provisional STB. The provisional STB is commanded by Lt. Col. Bradley Shutz and Command Sgt. Maj. Yolanda Johnson. The provisional STB uncased their unit colors signifying the official placement of the rear detachment command team.

Following the color casing ceremony Brigadier Gen. Robin Akin, commanding general, 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) and the ceremony's reviewing officer provided words of encouragement and praise to the Soldiers standing before her.

"We are not here to celebrate going to war but to celebrate the Soldiers standing before you," said Akin. The families deserve to see you here."

Akin talked about the training, dedication to mission and the professionalism the Soldiers of 7th Sustainment Brigade bring to the table. It was a year ago this week that many of the brigade's Soldiers standing in formation deployed to Haiti.

"A year ago today we took part in one of the largest humanitarian missions in the world," she said. What is important about today is the 530,000 Haitian families who received assistance during a time of crisis and you will take that same dedication with you to Afghanistan and Iraq. We look forward to seeing what you all will do down range."

Akin gave a heartfelt thanks to family members and offered reassurance while their loved ones are deployed through the support of the brigade's provisional command team and the Family R S A.

"It is the tireless efforts of the family members that contribute to the overall success of the mission," said Akin.

To the local community Akin offered sincere thanks for their non-stop support of the brigade's numerous back to back deployments.

Though deployment is nothing new for many Soldiers for others, going forward with the 7th Sustainment Brigade will be a first.

"I'm stoked," said Chief Warrant Officer Nicolas Manglona, STB operations officer. This will be my first deployment. I am excited and ready to go."


Story by Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Jo Bridgwater with photos by Sgt. Edwin J. RodriguezPhotos, 7th Sustainment Brigade public affairs. For queries, contact 7th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs at: 757-878-5112 ext. 268. For high-resolution photos and stories by the 7th Sustainment Brigade, please contact the Digital Video and Imagery Distribution System by calling (678) 421-6612 or access them online at