Deployment Ceremony at Fort Riley

Photo Courtesy of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley

Photo Courtesy of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley

By J. Parker Roberts, 1st Inf. Div. Public Affairs

FORT RILEY, Kan. – Ahead of its deployment to Kuwait, the 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team conducted a ceremony June 18 in which leaders cased the brigade colors, inactivated the Special Troops Battalion and reflagged the 1st Engineer Battalion to the 1st Brigade Engineer Battalion.

Several thousand Soldiers from the brigade will deploy for nine months in support of Operation Spartan Shield. A group of Soldiers departed the same day as the casing and inactivation ceremony.

Meanwhile, the Soldiers of the inactivating BSTB, which was led by Lt. Col. Brann G. Calvetti, will bolster the ranks of the new 1st Brig. Eng. Bn. under the command of Lt. Col. Jason Taliaferro.

“Over the past 22 months under the phenomenal leadership of Brann Calvetti, and over the past year following my arrival to this great division and community, the ‘Defiant’ battalion has embodied both the imperatives I’ve set forth, and continued to live by and strengthened the division colors as contained by (Maj.) Gen. (Paul E.) Funk’s vision,” Col. John Reynolds, 1st ABCT commander, said.

“In training, the BSTB battalion Soldiers have firmly demonstrated their adaptability, their competence and their reliability, setting the standard across the division on technical expertise.” Reynolds described the BSTB, or Defiant battalion, as a great organization led by a great leader who cared for his Soldiers at all times.

With his unit deactivated, Calvetti will next serve at the Pentagon as part of the Directorate of Command, Control, Communications and Computers/Cyber. “As part of my final act of command, I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to publicly recognize and give thanks to the Soldiers I have had the honor and privilege to lead and serve alongside these past two years,” Calvetti said.

“Thank you for your service and for what you and your families sacrifice and do every day in support of our Army and this great nation. You have truly proven that you are brave, responsible and on point.”

Units assigned to the BSTB moved under the 1st Brig. Eng. Bn., part of the Army’s larger restructuring plan. It will not result in a decrease of 1st ABCT troops. The 1st Bde. Eng. Bn. was part of the “Big Red One” beginning with World War I, but realigned in late 2007 under the 555th Engineer Brigade based out of Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.

The battalion’s Soldiers put 1st Inf. Div. patches back on their left shoulders in January as the “Diehard” battalion returned to the 1st ABCT. “I think it’s very fitting that the Army’s oldest and most decorated engineer battalion rejoins the oldest brigade combat team and the oldest division,” said Lt. Col. Jason Taliaferro, commander of the 1st Brig. En. Bn.

“There are many Diehard veterans out there that were ecstatic to see the ‘Big Red One’ back on our sleeves.” Taliaferro welcomed the former BSTB Soldiers into his ranks, challenging them to help write a history of which future generations will be proud.  “We’re extremely glad to have you and the tremendous capabilities you bring to the fight,” he said.

Photo Courtesy of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley

Photo Courtesy of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley

Photo Courtesy of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley

Photo Courtesy of 1st Infantry Division and Fort Riley