AUSTIN (KXAN) – Military leaders are calling a ceremony held Saturday morning at Camp Mabry historic. It marked the beginning of a three-year pilot program. The goal is to help soldiers in the Army Reserve and Army National Guard train side by side so they can serve in combat together.
“It’s a great day to be a soldier serving the United States of America,” said Major General James Brown.
Hundreds of Texas soldiers took a very visual change by accepting a new patch to show their commitment to helping the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team based in Vicenza, Italy. It was an emotional day for some, and a proud moment for all.
“It’s just an honor to really get that opportunity, it really is. And, being here in Texas and never expecting it to happen, it’s amazing,” said Sgt. Boone.
With this patch, these soldiers, in the Army Reserves or Nation Guard have jobs in the civilian world but now accept the task of being active-duty qualified at all times.
“Our soldiers are also teachers, carpenters, social workers, law enforcement officers, government officials. We all bring that together and enhance our unit’s capability and now we will help enhance our brigades’ capability as well as we bring this formation together for the future,” said Commander of the 143rd Lieutenant Colonel Kurt Cyr.
The goal of the program is to generate combat power so that the army can be globally responsive.
“We have seen that throughout history. For us to build that cohesion, the trust, the relationships, the understanding to work interoperability before our nation calls us, not after, is a big, big win for the army. We are preparing as a team before we are asked to do something when we’re called,” said 173rd Airborne Brigade Colonel Gregory Anderson.
The soldiers have spent years training in the states, their new role will now have them looking at another landscape in Italy. A big move for the military and the first of its kind that will hopefully create a more prepared team and one that can respond at any moment.
“Remember this day, this is a day that will go down in history where we melt these units together. This is a special day for our country and it’s certainly a special day for this unit,” said Major Brown.
The group will do a large bulk of their training next summer in different parts of Europe.
Military leaders say that is where they will be able to determine if they are in fact active-duty qualified.