Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 62nd Medical Brigade, formally cased their unit colors during a ceremony at Joint Base Lewis-McChord April 30.
More than 70 Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom to serve as the command element of Task Force Medical-Afghanistan. The HHC will join the 218th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services, who deployed to Afghanistan earlier this year, and will be joined by combat stress and surgical support elements later this year.
The guest speaker, Canadian BGen. Jean-Marc Lanthier, I Corps deputy commanding general for support, noted that the unit deploys during a critical time in the Afghan campaign as the mission transitions to the Afghan Security Forces, and said he had full confidence that the brigade will continue the sound partnership with III Corps and United States Forces-Afghanistan. To back up his claim, he cited the extensive training plan carried out over the past six months at JBLM, Fort Carson and Unified Endeavor 13.1 in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
For those watching the ceremony and those standing on the parade field, there is tremendous pride in knowing that you are such an important part to this critical mission in Afghanistan, Lanthier said. There is also heartbreak for many as this means yet another separation. Rest assured that we look after our Families at JBLM. Colonel Theresa M. Schneider, 62nd Med. Bde. commander, addressed the diverse mission set of the unit and reiterated her expectations for the Soldiers, Family members and civilians left behind.
She said Fort Carson and JBLM Soldiers will be responsible for the training to support the Defense CBRN Response Force, Severe Weather Response Force, Global Response Force, Warrior Forge and colleagues at I Corps in Pacific Theater shaping exercises.
This is the last time the brigade will stand on this field together until next year, Schneider said. For the Soldiers, Families and the civilians of the 62nd Med Bde., now more than any other time in the last two years ... we need to come together and work together in order to successfully execute all the missions we have.
She said their progress will be tracked from Afghanistan and called upon their creativity and enthusiasm in tackling training obstacles presented by geography.
When I took command I asked three things of the Soldiers, civilians and Family members of the 62nd Med. Bde. always take care of our patients, take care of each other and live the Army values. While I am deployed, those are still my expectations of Americas medics, so until we meet again next spring, good luck, mission success and teamwork, she said.