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NEWS | Nov. 20, 2019

Army Reserve Chemical Brigade reactivated during historic ceremony

By Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell 76th U.S. Army Reserve Operational Response Command

The Army Reserve added a new chemical brigade to its ranks Nov. 16, in a historic reactivation ceremony held here under a crystal blue sky and surrounded by a sparse desert mountain landscape.

During the ceremony the 455th Chemical Brigade officially became a part of the 76th Operational Response Command and added a new chapter to its long and proud history.

“Today we very much welcome the 455th Chemical Brigade as the newest member of the 76th Operational Response Team,” said Maj. Gen. Fred Maiocco, commanding general, 76th ORC. “The 455th is a proud formation that has been protecting the force since 1944. From its initial activation in World War II to its support in the global war on terror in both Iraq and Afghanistan, becoming the only chemical brigade in the history of the Chemical Corps to deploy to a theater of operations, to its focus on homeland defense and now its new mission as part of the 76th, is a credit to the Army and the Nation.”

Once Maiocco finished speaking, retired Army Col. George C. Frank Jr., former commander of the 455th Chemical Brigade took to the podium. “Approximately 12-years-ago the same colors that are proudly carried by the color guard today, were cased in a fitting ceremony on Doughboy Field at Fort Dix, New Jersey, the original home of the 455th. This brigade is special, and the Soldiers standing before us today are a strategic message to our potential foes that we are ready to meet any challenge and any threat.”

Frank went on to give some advice to the leaders of the 455th. “Trust and competence are the keys to building winning teams and the only way to achieve this is through aggressive training,” he said. “I know the leaders of this command will enable that. Focus on the important tasks, the rest will follow.”

Once Col. Frank was done speaking, the newest commander of the 455th, Col. Yvette Rose took the opportunity to address the crowd.

“Let me take this time to first thank God almighty for allowing me this precious, significant opportunity to be the brigade commander of the 455th at such an exciting moment in its history,” she said. “Today we’ve heard the 455th’s historical legacy and how we got from there to here. If you remember nothing else, remember that this organization is the only chemical brigade to have seen combat. This is the fifth time in history the unit has been activated, and that can only mean we’re really awesome, and we are critically important to America’s mission.”

Rose also talked about the way ahead. “Moving forward, we stand ready to cultivate and train Soldiers and empower our civilian support to ensure we are ready to fight overseas and react to America’s worst day,” she said. “My vision is simple. Be ready today.”

Her vision will come with plenty of challenges for the newly activated brigade that encompasses three battalions, 12 companies, two Army Reserve Elements and more than 2000 Soldiers spread across the Nation. But no matter how daunting the challenge may seem, Rose seems more than ready to take on any obstacle in her path.

“I am the mother of dragons,” she said. “Bringer of unit readiness. Destroyer of raters and senior raters with late evaluations. Approver of Professional Military Education. Celebrator of promotions of our Soldiers and civilians. Trainer of battalions and assessor of companies. Encourager of vertical progression. Supporter of necessary demotions and eliminator of cancerous problems within my command.”

Rose concluded her motivating speech with strong words of guidance for the days ahead. “As of 16 November 2019, we are once again an activated brigade, knighted with the authority to move readiness to the top, submit evaluations on time, ensure our dragon Soldiers attend primary military education, promote our well-deserving Soldiers, allow Soldiers and civilians to grow, train our fleet of Soldiers and demote or eliminate those who don’t want the strong fire of success to smoke out the competition,” she said. “This is our unique moment in history.”