On May 1st, my last unit, 2nd Battalion 16th Infantry Regiment will case it's colors for the last time, and the Dragon Brigade (4th IBCT 1st Infantry Brigade) will be that much closer to inactivation. It was perhaps inevitable once sequestration began that 4/1 would be one of the brigades targeted, after all the only reason 4/1 exists at all is that at the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom the Army was desperate for maneuver brigades, now that the war is over (for now) the brigade which was assembled and trained at break neck speed is quietly going away.
There's something bittersweet about my old unit casing it's colors and inactivating. I know that units change all the time. Units go from outstanding to piss poor in a heartbeat then right back to stellar all based on the movement of NCOs and officers in and out of a unit. The 2-16 I knew probably doesn't resemble the 2-16 that exists now. The names will be different, perhaps the traditions will as well, but there's a part of me that always felt that some small piece of me was with 2-16. No matter what adventures the Army sent the "Rangers" on, I always followed closely, and felt trepidation and concern for "my" unit.
I feel rather like Im taking a favorite dog to the vet one final time. Yeah, we had some great times didn't we? But now your time has come and it's time to say goodbye. There are no tears, at least not yet. I'm sure that if I actually make it to the ceremony, there will be. Perhaps the hardest thing for me to face is that, in my mind at least, as long as 2-16 was still around guys like PFC Craig, PFC Harrelson, SFC Doster, or even Holmes weren't truly dead. The battalion carried a piece of them with it. Now that the Battalion is soon to be a ghost itself, it makes me feel like maybe those guys truly are gone.