By Sgt. Lindsey KiblerJuly 13, 2011
KABUL, AFGHANISTAN " On a particularly windy and sandy evening, about 100 I Corps soldiers gathered in a dimly-lit hanger at North Kabul International Airport, Afghanistan, to watch as the I Corps colors were uncased during a ceremony July 7.
The I Corps commanding general, Lt. Gen. Curtis M. Scaparrotti, and I Corps Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, were on hand to uncase the colors. The ceremony signified the start of I Corps’ 12-month deployment as the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command Headquarters element.
Scaparrotti and Troxell will be filling the roles of IJC commander and command sergeant major, in addition to their positions as I Corps commander and command sergeant major.
The uncasing of the colors, represents the presence of I Corps in the ongoing efforts in Afghanistan.
"It is a significant event to bring a Corps into combat," said Scaparrotti. "The uncasing of the colors represents all the men that have served in that unit, and [their] history is in those colors."
The Corps colors have been in every major combat zone, with the exception of the Vietnam War, and remains the most decorated Corps in the United States Army.
“We’re here, the Corps is established and we are prepared to assume duties as the ISAF Joint Command Headquarters,” he said. “We’re ready to execute our mission successfully, much like in Iraq.”
I Corps returned from Iraq in the spring of 2010 after a yearlong deployment as the Multi-National Corps-Iraq headquarters. However, Troxell said the mission in Afghanistan will be different.
“This is a NATO headquarters, comprised of 48 other countries, whereas in Iraq it was almost an all-American force,” he explained. “There is a lot of diversity here, and we are here to bring synergy within the countries.”
Most importantly, the IJC Headquarters will work with subordinate regional commands to assist the population of Afghanistan, Troxell added.
“Our colors are here, and show that you are here to protect our country and our way of life, and to help the people of Afghanistan,” Scaparrotti told his soldiers. “When we go home we will add another streamer, and you will forever be attached [to it]. Be proud of that.”
I Corps’ Special Troops Battalion also uncased their colors during the ceremony.
In the upcoming weeks, approximately 400 more I Corps soldiers will be arriving in Afghanistan.