172nd Infantry Brigade cases colors
May 31, 2013
By Denver Beaulieu-Hains, Joint Multinational Training Center
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany - The 172nd Infantry Brigade cased its colors here May 31, marking the unit’s inactivation.
While the 172nd’s official history dates back to World War I, its modern history in Germany began in March 2008, in Schweinfurt, when 2nd “Dagger” Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, reflagged to become the 172nd “Blackhawk” Infantry Brigade. The brigade headquarters and most of the brigade later moved to Grafenwoehr.
The brigade deployed twice, once to Iraq and and once to Afghanistan. Nineteen of the brigade’s Soldiers died during those deployments.
“The sacrifices of the 19 Blackhawks who gave their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan signify the most recent chapter in a legacy of service the 172nd has given to our Nation,” said Lt. Gen. Donald M. Campbell, Jr., USAREUR’s commanding general, in his remarks during the ceremony.
After praising the unit’s performance in combat and here in Germany and acknowledging the challenges of the brigade’s final mission, the preparations for its inactivation, Campbell ended with words of encouragement and pride.
“The young privates, sergeants, and lieutenants who proudly wear the Blackhawk combat patch today will likely be asked in 10 years, ‘What unit is that?’.
“They will know and carry your legacy into the future. They will understand how you helped shape USAREUR into a more agile force in support of the Army’s on-going transformation and carry this accomplishment with pride,” Campbell said.
In his remarks at the ceremony, the brigade’s commander, Col. Edward T. Bohnemann, thanked the unit and their Family members for their dedication and sacrifice, and thanked the Grafenwoehr and Schweinfurt communities, on- and off-post, for their support to the brigade.
Bohnemann had special thanks for the Grafenwoehr community for their assistance in erecting a memorial in honor of the brigade’s fallen Soldiers.
“So although the brigade may be departing Grafenwoehr, the memory of those no longer standing in our ranks remains forever part of this community,” Bohnemann said. “We shall never forget!”
Bohnemann also marked the retirement of Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Boom after 30 years of active duty. As the brigade Command Sgt. Major, Boom served as the brigade’s senior enlisted member and the brigade commander’s enlisted advisor.
“I can say there is none more professional than him, none more caring and none more hard working,” Bohnemann said.
The brigade’s inactivation is a major milestone in U.S. Army Europe’s transformation to a more agile force built around a cavalry brigade equipped with highly mobile Stryker combat vehicles and an airborne infantry brigade.
Originally announced in 2004 with final revisions published in February, 2012, the Department of Defense’s posture plans for USAREUR called for the inactivation of the 172nd and the 170th Infantry Brigades, as well as V Corps headquarters. The 170th inactivated in Baumholder in October 2012 and V Corps will inactivate by October 2013.