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201st Military Intelligence Battalion cases colors anticipating deployment to Afghanistan

Feb 11, 2010

By Gregory Ripps, 470th MI Brigade Public Affairs

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The 201st Military Intelligence Battalion cased its colors Feb. 5 as it prepares to deploy very soon to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The colors casing ceremony, which represents a pause in the unit's activities on Fort Sam Houston, took place in the circular area in front of the post's historic Building 1000 known as "Old BAMC."

Family members, fellow Soldiers and other guests gathered on damp ground under gray skies where the battalion's three companies formed.

Maj. Gen. Simeon Trombitas, commanding general, U.S. Army South, pointed out in his address to the gathering that 10 percent of the battalion's Soldiers took exceptional actions to be part of the deployment because they "wanted to deploy with their unit."

These actions included extending enlistment and waiving the time allowed to stay in country following earlier overseas deployment.

The battalion last deployed overseas from September 2007 to December 2008 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Its mission in Afghanistan will be similar to its mission in Iraq, where it conducted detainee screening and interrogation, document and media exploitation, and intelligence analysis.

On this deployment, the battalion will serve as the Army component of the Joint Interrogation and Debriefing Center in Bagram, Afghanistan, to provide timely intelligence to commanders in support of the International Stabilization Force.

"Take care of each other, focus on your mission, and come home safe," Trombitas advised the Soldiers at the conclusion of his remarks.

Col. Jim Lee, commander of the 470th MI Brigade, to which the 201st is subordinate, recounted the training the Soldiers endured and described the difficult conditions that lie ahead of them.

"Yet, despite many challenges, these Soldiers will, each day, look their enemy in the eye and question them, gaining intelligence for commanders," said Lee. "Lt. Col. Dennis Lewis [battalion commander] and Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Ables and their leaders have prepared these Soldiers well. We have great confidence in their abilities."

Trombitas, Lee, Lewis and Ables shared the honor of furling and casing the colors. Additional highlights of the morning event included music by a contingent of the Army Medical Command Band, the national anthem, and a song about heroes performed by leading Tejano star Patsy Torres.

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