MIESAU, Germany -- Soldiers, Family Members, and friends of the U.S. Army Europe's only airborne forward surgical team gathered at the Miesau Fitness Center recently to formally mark the first step in the units impending deployment.

The leaders of the 67th Forward Surgical Team (Airborne) cased the unit guidon during a ceremony October 28, as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in November.

"I am extremely thankful that I am going downrange with the officers and Soldiers standing before you," said the FST commander, Lt. Col. Patrick McAndrew.

The unit has deployed several times throughout its storied history, including Operation Iraqi Freedom from June 2005 to September 2006, and OEF from May 2009 to May 2010.

While every deployment is different, McAndrew said that he and his team -- his "Family, Soldiers, Together, FST," -- is ready for their mission.

"There are challenging times and exciting times ahead, but we are all ready. Ready to provide the best patient care to whoever comes our way," said McAndrew. "Ready to start, and finish strong, and to come home safely having made our two pieces of Afghanistan perhaps a little better than when we first arrived."

The unit will uncase the guidon when they arrive in Afghanistan sometime in November. After months of preparation and training, the Soldiers of the 67th FST (ABN) are eager to get their boots on the ground.

"See you in 365. Death can wait. Airborne!"

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Fincham, 30th MEDCOM Public Affairs Operations NCO. For more information please contact him at 30thmed.pao@us.army.mil.