Family, friends and members of the JBLM community gathered together for the 5th Battalion, 3rd Field Artillery Regiment, deployment ceremony at JBLM, Aug. 22.
The “First Round” Soldiers are set to deploy to the U.S. Central Command area of operation to strengthen partnerships with allied forces.
The 5-3 FA command team, Lt. Col. Ian Bennett and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Murphy, cased their unit colors, a military tradition that officially signifies a unit’s deployment.
Bennett addressed his Soldiers in formation saying he had confidence in their training and abilities, while their families looked on.
“Your Soldiers are ready,” said Bennett. “Take comfort in that. While it is never easy to say goodbye … rest easy; your Soldiers are ready for whatever they are called upon to do.”
Bennett said this deployment will be the first for many in the unit and his Soldiers are very positive and eager to deploy. Spc. Luke Grant couldn’t agree more.
“Right now I’m more excited than anything,” said Grant, a chaplain assistant with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 5-3 FA. “I joined the Army wanting to deploy.”
Brigadier Gen. Paul Bontrager, deputy commanding general for support, 7th Infantry Division, and guest speaker for the ceremony, spoke encouraging words to the Soldiers.
“As they case their colors, I can confidently report that the Soldiers that serve under these colors are extremely well trained,” said Bontrager. “Move forward, strengthened by the love of your families and this wonderful community we call home.”
The unit prepared themselves to deploy through outstanding leadership and by training at the National Training Center in California and Yakima Training Center in eastern Washington, said Capt. Wolf-Ekkehard Hindrichs, commander of B Battery, 5-3 FA. He said his Soldiers look forward to being together and supporting each other.
“The noncommissioned officers in this battery are the driving force behind keeping this whole thing together,” Hindrichs said. “In my Army career, I haven’t been more impressed with a group of NCOs and Soldiers who are eager to get after the mission and take care of each other.”