JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery and 256th Signal Company, 17th Field Artillery Brigade, are on their way to Southwest Asia again.
The Thunderbolt Brigade is no stranger to the region, having performed missions in that area of operations during previous deployments.
They will serve for nine months as headquarters for 1st Battalion, 94th Field Artillery Regiment, already deployed in the region. The fires brigades new elements will set up in U.S. Army Central Commands area of responsibility there.
A ceremony was held April 17, to farewell the 60 deploying Soldiers who cased their colors for movement.
The Thunderbolt Brigade has a long history of proud service overseas, 17th FA Bde. commander Col. Tim F. Kehoe said, from its constitution in 1918 to valorous participation in Normandy, serving with distinction in the Federal Republic of Germany in 1951 to its support of Operation Iraqui Freedom.
Kehoe praised the Soldiers and their leaders for the quality of training and preparation they underwent leading to the deployment, He also thanked those who helped with administrative and other support.
I would like to sincerely thank all those who have made our transition and life here a little easier, Kehoe said. To those who have supported and assisted us, we couldnt do it without you.
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Anders, 17th FA Bde. deputy commander, recognized those who will remain behind as integral members of the Thunderbolt family.
They stand tall and strong as they, too, answer the call to duty and stand by our Soldiers, Anders said. The Family Boot Camp event held March 21 is an excellent example of efforts made to strengthen and prepare for this deployment.
Anders said 17th FA Bde. Soldiers will maintain high standards despite the diminishing U.S. presence in the region.
We cant emphasize enough the professionalism, expertise, and dedication of the outstanding team that sets to deploy and of those who will continue the mission here at JBLM, Anders said. These Soldiers understand service, sacrifice and commitment and we couldnt be more honored to stand next to them in service to our Army, and our nation. The brigade leadership is confident in the capabilities of our deploying Soldiers and we know that this will be a successful deployment.
The Soldiers of 1-94 FA, the Deep Steel Battalion, are scheduled to be replaced late this summer by another 17th FA unit, 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment.