FORT HOOD, Texas — The U.S Army is full of tradition and ceremony, but some ceremonies carry a heavy load like the casing of unit colors.
Packing up the unit flags like the 2nd Brigade Combat Team with the 1st Cavalry division just did because they are deploying.
”Our colors are near and dear to us," said Col. Chris Kirkpatrick, commander of Black Jack Brigade. "It’s kind of the physical manifestation of who we are as a unit and it represents our past, our present, and hope for our future.
“So, casing those colors is a symbol of us departing the Great Place here at Fort Hood and moving ourselves and the entire organization to conduct operations in Europe.”
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team is known as Black Jack Brigade — and Black Jack is headed to Europe as one of the most lethal armored brigades the Army has to offer.
While more than 3,000 Black Jack soldiers leave to assist NATO allies, one unit is staying back on and equally important mission.
”49 Cav commanded by Nick James is our home station mission command,” said Col. Kirkpatrick. “So, he back here enabled with key personnel, to make sure he can take care of soldiers who aren’t going forward and also take care of our families who are remaining behind.”
Family members like Mandy Stanley, a wife who is saying goodbye to her husband Cpt. Bob Stanley, a chaplain with Black Jack Brigade.
”It’s obviously something that well, makes you nervous, but knowing that he is doing what he is trained to do and knowing that he loves what he does, I just have to trust that he will be okay and that all the soldiers will do the jobs that they need to do,” Mandy Stanley said.
A job those soldiers say they and their vehicles are more than ready for.
”I can speak to the credibility of the vehicle because I help make sure all the vehicles that we’re sending overseas are up to standard,” said Spc. David Springer, specialist with Black Jack Brigade.
Black Jack Brigade has officially cased their colors and now head out to deter possible enemies and assist NATO allies in Europe.