FORT HOOD, Texas - Their unit was different. It wasn't a traditional field artillery battery, but rather, was designated a troop-a unit mixed with field artillery men, tankers and fire support teams - organized from platoons throughout the 1st "Ironhorse" Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, who sometimes took on missions normally reserved for infantrymen.
An air of pride and sadness enveloped a gathered crowd as Soldiers from this "unique" unit - Troop "Dagger," 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st BCT, 1st Cav. Div. - cased their colors signifying the deactivation of the troop during a ceremony on Fort Hood, Texas April 15.
The Daggers who were activated on March 10, 2006 were part of a unit specifically tailored to provide the battalion and the brigade much needed maneuver capabilities on the battlefield, according to San Diego native Lt. Col. Martin Clausen, commander, 1st Bn., 82nd FA Regt.
Just prior to the deactivation ceremony, the unconventional group was addressed by Roundup, Mont., native Col. Paul E. Funk II, commander of the Ironhorse Brigade; Mustang, Okla., native Lt. Col. Kevin MacWatters, commander of 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment and Clausen and were highly commended on the immense success they achieved while deployed during Operation Iraqi Freedom 06-08.
"Be proud of yourself and what you achieved. You are special, and your legacy will only grow in time as we think back to this great unit formed under the most trying times," Clausen boldly said.
Dagger Troop stood tall, together for the last time as the ritual took place.
"We case the guidon today and we do so knowing that Troop D fulfilled its purpose having accomplished more than anyone could have dreamed up," stated Clausen.
According to Clausen, Troop D brought peace to Fallahat, Iraq; reduced attacks against Coalition forces in their area by 98 percent, carried out over 1,300 combat missions and 250 humanitarian aid missions and successfully brought every member of their group back home.
After the formal ceremony, the Soldiers that trained, deployed and fought with Troop D gathered around 1st Sgt. Richard Fisk, the top noncommissioned officer of the troop from Alma, Mich., and the commander, Capt. Martin Wohlgemuth, an Anchorage, Alaska native for the last time in reminiscence of the long journey. They presented, the teary-eyed Fisk, with a framed Dagger guidon and a personal engravement that reflected the motto the troop lived by.
The Soldiers hugged, laughed and sadly wished each other luck as they dispersed to their separate parent organizations.
"You are the heart and soul of the troop, and more importantly-it is with each of you that the history and memories of this troop will be kept alive," said Wohlgemuth to all his Soldiers.