By Jeff Brewster
LAKEWOOD – Earlier today, Congressman Denny Heck relayed the news that the Army had selected the 4-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team (SBCT) for inactivation. The City of Lakewood has enjoyed a very active “Community Connector” relationship with the “Raider Brigade” since 2006.
The Raider Brigade, under the command of Colonel Mike Getchell, is now completing its third deployment in the last seven years. In 2007, the brigade was part of the military’s historic “surge” to Iraq, which turned the tide against the insurgency. The brigade lost fifty-four soldiers during that deployment; their names are inscribed on a bronze plaque in the LakewoodCouncil Chambers. In 2009, the brigade returned to Iraq and received national recognition as the last combat brigade to leave Iraq when it departed the following summer. In the fall of 2012, the brigade deployed to Afghanistan to serve in the treacherous Kandahar region. The entire brigade will be home by July.
Over the years, City officials have attended memorial services for the brigade’s fallen soldiers, participated in homecoming events and change of command ceremonies, and hosted pre-deployment dinners for the brigade’s leadership. The City also supported the brigade’s “adopt-a-company” program, which connected units with local businesses and collected donations for single soldiers. Over the years, the brigade has been very generous in return by supporting such civic projects as “Make a Difference Day,” “Parks Appreciation Day,” and “Truck and Tractor Day.” The brigade has regularly participated in CityCouncil meetings.
Mayor Don Anderson remarked, “The City was disappointed to hear the news that the 4-2 Stryker Brigade has been selected for inactivation. Lakewood has thoroughly enjoyed its friendship with the Raider Brigade over the years. They are well-led and consummate professionals. We look forward to reuniting with the brigade as they complete their mission inAfghanistan.”
The Lakewood Sub-Chapter of the Association of the US Army (AUSA – Meriwether Lewis Chapter) has also been a major advocate of the 4-2 SBCT. The City, with active support from the AUSA, will host a parade and homecoming event for the 4-2 SBCT on Sunday, September 15. Details are available at www.cityoflakewood.us.