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4th Brigade Combat Team shut down by Army restructuring

Command Sgt. Maj. Delia Quintero and Col. Timothy Watson assist Rock Merritt in casing the 508th PIR colors at a Fort Bragg ceremony.


Major General Jon W. Nicholson, Commanding General, 82nd Airborne Division hands the cased regimental colors to CSM (Ret) Kenneth "Rock" Merritt, an original member of the original WW-II 508 PIR

The 508th PIR Regimental colors will be maintained at the Headquarters, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division and will be "Uncased" when the 1st Battalion, 508 PIR returns from Afghanistan in October 2015

Rock embraces change
as well as these two young officers!

Staff photo by Dillon Deaton

4th Brigade Combat Team shut down by Army restructuring

Command Sgt. Maj. Delia Quintero and Col. Timothy Watson case the 4th Brigade Combat Team colors at a Fort Bragg ceremony.

The 82nd Airborne Division closed a chapter in its history Thursday when it bid farewell to the 4th Brigade Combat Team.

A casualty of Army restructuring, the brigade colors and the colors for three of the brigade's battalions were cased in a ceremony at Stang Field on Fort Bragg.

The event recognized the sacrifices paratroopers made during the brigade's eight-year history.

Sixty-eight soldiers were killed during repeated deployments to Afghanistan in the unit's relatively short history, officials said.

The end of the "Deployment Brigade" - also known as Fury Brigade - was bittersweet for the brigade's last commander, Col. Timothy Watson.

Watson, who now serves with the 18th Airborne Corps in Afghanistan, returned to Fort Bragg for the ceremony and said the brigade would live on.

"The Fury Brigade was formed for war," Watson said. "Our legacy will be our leaders and paratroopers."

About two-thirds of the roughly 3,500 soldiers who formed the brigade remain in the division, Watson said.

Many moved with their battalions to other brigades or moved on to other units within the 82nd.

Watson said he believed those paratroopers were disciplined, well-trained and well-suited to leading other soldiers.

In addition to the brigade colors, the 782nd Brigade Support Battalion, Brigade Special Troops Battalion and the 2nd Battalion, 321st Field Artillery Regiment also cased their colors.

The 508th Parachute Infantry Regimental colors also were cased, to be unveiled when the 1st Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment returns from Afghanistan later this year.

Maj. Gen. John W. Nicholson Jr., commanding general of the 82nd Airborne Division, said the brigade's inactivation may also be temporarily.

"We're casing the colors today," he said. "If they're needed again, the unit will be ready."

Nicholson said it was an honor to serve alongside the Fury Brigade and spoke at length on the unit's legacy in Afghanistan, where the brigade fought in some of the war's toughest battlegrounds and served as the first brigade to be partnered with Afghan security forces.

Nicholson said Afghanistan's recent accomplishments, including its successful elections, could be attributed, in part, to the tremendous sacrifice of the 4th Brigade and the 68 soldiers who were killed in action while serving in Afghanistan during more than three years at war.

"You have done the heavy lifting for our nation," Nicholson said. "We owe you a debt of gratitude we could never repay."

Several past leaders of the brigade, including Col. Brian Mennes and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Flowers, attended the ceremony.

And officials were quick to point out that the brigade legacy - revolving around the lineage of the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment - would live on in other units.

The 1st and 2nd battalions of the 508th are both serving in Afghanistan and have been moved to other 82nd brigades.

Military editor Drew Brooks can be reached at brooksd@fayobserver.com or 486-3567.

Source: Fayetteville Observer

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