1st Med Brigade Cases its Colors in Preparation for Deployment

Story by Pfc. Crystal Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

The 1st Medical Brigade cased its colors Wednesday at the 13th Corps Support Command Guidon Field in preparation for their upcoming deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This ceremony symbolizes the brigade command's departure, but many of its Soldiers are already in Iraq.

Less than a month ago, the brigade's 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion and 502nd Dental Company deployed for Iraq. On Sunday, Soldiers of the 43rd Veterinary Detachment and 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion returned from a year-long deployment. Soon, the 546th and 581st Area Support Medical Companies will be welcomed home.

Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Medical Brigade, are the latest of the 1st's Soldiers to prepare for deployment. This is a unit made up of great Soldiers and terrific Americans, said 1st Med. commander Col. Jim Rice during Wednesday's ceremony.

"These are the right Soldiers and the right unit to complete the mission ahead," Rice added.

This is a unit of Soldiers who follow the warrior ethos on a daily basis, their commander continued. Their military bearing and professionalism was evident even in the ceremony. These Soldiers stood with military erectness - shoulders back, head up, eyes looking forward - as the early-morning sun shone brightly. They saluted smartly as Sgt. Jeanette Hiteshew sang the National Anthem. They sang the Army song with gusto and pride.

"Fortitude and compassion," the unit's motto, echoes the attention these Soldiers - all the Soldiers of the 1st Med. Bde. - give to Soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Iraqi servicemembers and civilians, on a regular basis, said Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commanding general of the 13th COSCOM. Since the unit's first deployment in support of OIF in 2003, the sun has not set on the 1st Med. Bde. Its combat support hospitals, area support medical formations, evacuation units, medical logisticians, dental company, and detachments for combat stress and veterinary treatment, are called upon relentlessly by the Army and other services for support as the nation fights terror around the globe.

It is this fortitude which will lead the nation to success, said Rice to the Soldiers in formation.

"We are a nation at war. You are the reason we will succeed. Silver Knights!"


news photo
Soldiers of the 1st Medical Brigade salute as brigade commander Col. Jim Rice and brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Stuart roll and case the unit's colors. The brigade's command is returning to Iraq for its second deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist