JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - After more than eight years of being stationed on Joint Base Lewis-McChord the 23rd Chemical Battalion cased its colors Dec. 6, at JBLM-North. The battalion is relocating to Camp Stanley, South Korea, as part of an enhancement plan for the 2nd Infantry Division and U.S. forces in the Republic of Korea.

The battalion's 61st Chemical Company, 62nd Chemical Company, 501st Chemical Company and Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment will provide Nuclear Biological and Chemical reconnaissance decontamination and consequence management assistance to support U.S. and R.O.K. military forces.

"Not only are the 'Lions' army professionals, disciplined warriors and statesmen, but their unique skill set and technical expertise in chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives operations will be paramount as part of the nation's continued commitment to our Korean counterparts," said Col. Maria Zumwalt, brigade commander, 48th Chemical Brigade.

The battalion was previously stationed in South Korea until 2004 when they redeployed back to JBLM. Their relocation back is part of the Army's initiative to reinforce America's commitment to the U.S.-R.O.K. alliance.

"It is recognized that our battalion is a vital component of the United States' deterrence strategy against weapons of mass destruction. As the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan subside our nation has once again called on the Lions of the 23rd to assist in the enforcement of the armistice and enhanced deterrence of North Korean aggression on the Korean peninsula," said Lt. Col. D. Sean Crockett, battalion commander, 23rd Chem. Bn.

"These soldiers will set new standards in the combating weapons of mass destruction fight for other regions in the world to follow, they will build ever lasting partnerships and continue to be the tip of the spear in the future of our regiment," Zumwalt said. "Not only do they stand ready to 'Fight Tonight,' but they will provide a unique capability and skill set that will bring the 2nd ID to higher levels of readiness.

The battalion's relocation will bring approximately 300 Soldiers to Camp Stanley and is scheduled to be completed by March 2013.

"Freedom is God's gift to mankind, as members of the greatest fighting force; you are the protectors of that gift. Yours is the highest of callings, a duty upon which the freedom of billions depends, we will miss you and you will always have a special place in our hearts," Zumwalt said. "Lead from the front and answer our nation's call."