Kentucky National Guard conducts historic unit relocation

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Col. John H. Edwards Jr. (left) and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Tolliver unfurl the colors of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade during an uncasing ceremony in Richmond, Ky., Nov. 1, 2013. The briagde colors are uncased to signify a brigade headquarters’ activation or relocation, in this case, from Louisville to Richmond. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

RICHMOND, Ky. — The largest unit of the Kentucky National Guard now calls Richmond, Ky., home.

The 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, the largest of the state’s five Major Support Commands moved its brigade headquarters from Louisville, Ky. to Richmond, during an uncasing ceremony, Nov. 1, 2013.

Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell joined Madison County Judge Executive Kent Clark and Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes in overseeing the uncasing of the 149th MEB colors at the Armed Forces Reserve Center just outside the city.

Campbell, who commanded the 149th on their last deployment to Iraq in 2011 said the ceremony was the beginning of a long and productive relationship between the brigade and the city and county.

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Col. John H. Edwards Jr. speaks during the uncasing ceremony for the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Richmond, Ky., Nov. 1, 2013. The brigade commander, Edwards spoke of the unit’s long tradition and his goal to build upon it in Richmond. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“We are Citizen-Soldiers and with that title, we enjoy a special relationship with our communities, and I expect that to be no different now,” said Campbell. “Madison County and Richmond have long been strong supporters of the National Guard and the military at large.  You are now getting one of the most powerful brigade headquarters in the Army inventory.”

Col. John H. Edwards Jr., brigade commander, spoke of the uncasing as the pinnacle of a long road of preparation for the movement of the brigade. He expressed his pride in the lineage of the 149th and its role it has played in U.S. military history and reminded the Soldiers that the brigade colors are about more than just them.

“The uncasing ceremony is about recognizing the name and what we stand for as a unit, together,” Edwards said. “We uncase those colors not just for us in this room, but those who fought before us. And my challenge to you as you walk out those doors is to remember you represent the 149th and its traditions, you will do it 110 percent.”

“Uncasing of the colors,” or unfurling of the flag, symbolizes the activation or, in this case, the relocation of a military unit.

The move takes place to improve the unit’s readiness as an organization as well as to better provide support to the Commonwealth in response to disasters such as tornadoes and flooding.

Lt. Col. Jerry Morrison, deputy commander of the 149th said it is an extremely positive move in the right direction with many benefits to the Kentucky Guard. The relocation is also part of a larger realignment of units in the commonwealth.   Placing military police, engineers and chemical capabilities under the appropriate command allows the unit to function as a true maneuver enhancement brigade as designed by the Army.

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Soldiers of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade present the colors during an uncasing ceremony in Richmond, Ky., Nov. 1, 2013. The realignment of the 149th MEB brought together logistic Soldiers, military police, engineers and chemical Soldiers under one command to function as a complete maneuver enhancement brigade. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“The units here today provide a complete maneuver enhancement brigade, over 2,600 Soldiers strong, fully capable of meeting its federal and state mission,” Morrison said. “The City of Richmond and Madison County are now the proud owners of the largest Kentucky National Guard brigade headquarters.”

Mayor Jim Barnes welcomed the Soldiers to Richmond with appreciation, calling their service to the country the greatest honor for an individual.

“On behalf of the City of Richmond, I cannot begin to tell you how excited we are for you all to become part of our community,” he said. “It’s quite an honor when we as a growing community can say that we got the 149th Brigade.”

The 149th traces its roots back to the Kentucky Militia in 1839. In its 174-year history, the Soldiers of the brigade have served in battles of nearly every war the United States has been involved in. Today, it is made up of battalions from across the state, in towns such as Owensboro, Bowling Green, Louisville and Ashland with company-level units in many more locations, all centered, now, on Richmond.

“The 149th Brigade has a storied history, but we must continue to feel that the best days are ahead,” Campbell added. “With the successful transition from Louisville to Richmond, a hundred mile move with a large headquarters with a significant number of troops and equipment, the future is definitely bright for the 149th MEB and Richmond and Madison County.”

 

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