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NEWS | Jan. 27, 2020

U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers case their colors, prepare for deployment

By Maj. Thomas Piernicky 4th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary)

U.S. Army Reserve members of the 211th Regional Support Group assembled here Jan. 25, 2020, for a mobilization deployment ceremony in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 84 deploying Soldiers stood in front of family, friends, peers and members of the Corpus Christi community for the Colors Casing ceremony, a military tradition commemorating the beginning of a unit’s deployment and its history of past campaigns. The tradition is a significant event for the brigade, the local community and the nation as the 211th RSG relocates to Fort Hood, Texas for a year-long mobilization.

“We are here today to honor the 84 Soldiers of the 211th Regional Support Group as they move forth to mobilize in defense of freedom,” said U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Gen. Eugene LeBoeuf, Commander of the 79th Theater Support Command. “The colors will stay cased in Corpus Christi until the 211th takes on the new mission at Fort Hood.”

The Soldiers’ will assume duties as the Hood Mobilization Brigade, assisting in the deployment and redeployment of over 26,000 U.S. Army Reserve and U.S. Army National Guard Soldiers supporting Army operations across the globe.

LeBoeuf expressed his pride of Soldiers of the 211th RSG as they prepare to deploy. He praised the proficiency and expertise of America’s citizen-Soldiers.

“These Soldiers are part of the most lethal, capable, and combat-ready Army Reserve in our Nation’s history,” LeBoeuf said. “You are truly the best of us. Your presence at Fort Hood will make their deployments smoother.”

Many distinguished visitors attended the ceremony including the Mayor of Corpus Christi, United States Army Reserve Ambassador Bob Perez and his wife Mrs. Gina Perez, Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Lopes of the 4th Sustainment Command Expeditionary, representatives of the Nueces County Sheriff Office, and various members of the Veterans Foreign Wars Association.

Corpus Christi Mayor Joe McComb gave a speech during the ceremony and offered words of appreciation for the Soldier’s service to the nation. He said he was honored to be part of the event.

“On behalf of the city of Corpus Christi, I just want to say how proud we are of you and your family,” McComb said. “We want to say thank you for your service to our country and what you do.”

The mayor ended by saying a prayer for the Soldiers’ safety and their families for sacrificing their time while loved ones serve our country.

Col. David Dean, commander of the 211th RSG, was excited by the opportunity for his unit to take on a new mission and the challenges it provides. Dean said that the unit’s senior leadership personally selected each of the Soldiers for the deployment based on the specific skills. Many of the Soldiers chosen came from other units, having volunteered to serve with the 211th RSG for the mission.

“We looked at you and chose you because you have special skills,” Dean said.

“My message to you is be awesome,” Dean said to the formation of troops. “Be awesome during this mobilization. Know your job, be professional and take the time to learn an additional skill, and then at the end of the day, be awesome.”

For some of the unit’s members, it will be their first deployment and a chance to develop new skillsets. One Soldier deploying for the first time is U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Zachary Milton, who was part of the color guard for the ceremony.

“I don’t see much of a difference in what we will do on our mission, compared to what I do now at my civilian job,” said Milton, who works as a government maintenance operator in Robstown, Texas. “All I am doing is putting on my uniform, relocating to Fort Hood and doing similar work, but I will be doing it for the Army.”

LeBoeuf offered words of encouragement for the first-time deploying Soldiers and their families and called on Soldiers with previous deployment experience to mentor their peers.

“For those being mobilized for the first time, it’s go time,” LeBoeuf said. “This is why our Reserve exists and exactly what you signed up to do. For those deployed or mobilized before, I thank you again for answering the call to duty and the way you will lead and guide the first-timers beside you.”

As the ceremony came to an end, Dean completed his speech thanking the assembled family members for their sacrifice and support. His final comments to his Soldiers was to take time and reflect on the importance of the mission.

“When you are sitting on your porch drinking lemonade, think about what you did for the United States Army when they called you,” Dean said.