Final TF Guardian unit ends mission
February 8, 2005
FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas (Army News Service, Feb. 8, 2005) - When the commander of Task Force Guardian rolled up the unit colors, it symbolized the end of a nearly four-year mission to provide homeland defense and security across the western half of the United States.
Fifth U.S. Army conducted a ceremony Jan. 28 for the Missouri unit that provided force protection and security for 64 Air Force (Operation Armored Falcon) and nine Army (Operation Noble Eagle) sites for the past year.
Task Force Guardian was last commanded by Col. Timothy D. Polles and staffed by 52 Soldiers of the 135th Field Artillery Brigade from Sedalia, Mo. The Soldiers have completed their mission and began returning home Feb. 4.
"This brigade can return home to Missouri knowing they were part of history; they have answered the call of duty in support of the Global War on Terror," Polles said.
The Task Force headquarters was responsible for the command and control of three subordinate battalions. The 128th and 129th Field Artillery battalions are from Missouri and the 200th Air Defense Artillery battalion is from New Mexico.
In addition to force protection security, the task force was responsible for command and control of all Fifth U.S. Army rear detachment operations including two Community Based Health Care Organizations located in Little Rock, Ark., and Sacramento, Calif.
Community Based Health Care is an initiative developed by the Department of the Army to allow selected Reserve Component Soldiers to receive medical care at locations near their homes, rather than remaining at mobilization/demobilization stations.
"Our field artillery troops were given a non standard mission, adapted-adjusted and did an outstanding job," said Command Sgt. Maj. William Rich, the command sergeant major of the 35th Field Artillery Brigade.
Task Force Guardian has been an ongoing mission since Sept. 11, 2001. The first unit to assume the mission came from the 49th Armored Division, Texas National Guard, followed by the 40th Infantry Division, California National Guard.
With the unit colors cased, the Soldiers of Task Force Guardian said farewell to the mission and returned home having served their country in time of need.
(Editor's note: Margaret Broadbent serves with Fifth U.S. Army Public Affairs.)