The City of Lakewood is hosting a community-wide celebration on Sunday, September 15, 2013, for the 4th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division (4-2 SBCT). This unit is our city’s military “Community Connector” partner at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM). The events of the day focus on the theme “Raiders Return,” as the unit—known as the Raider Brigade—just completed a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan, where they provided security force assistance to the Afghan National Security Forces.
2,000 Soldiers and more than a dozen of the unit’s military vehicles, including 11 different variants of the Stryker, and the I Corps Band will march in a parade departing at 9:00 a.m. from Lakewood Police headquarters and ending at City Hall. There, Lakewood Mayor Don Anderson and the 4-2 SBCT Commander, Colonel Michael Getchell, will provide brief remarks. After the conclusion of the parade, all are invited to a community festival at Fort Steilacoom Park, which will begin at noon and run until 6:00 p.m. The festival will offer food, musical entertainment, games, a petting zoo, car and motorcycle shows, military and emergency response vehicle displays, and more.
Lakewood has been 4-2 SBCT’s “Community Connector” since 2006. The City’s elected officials have maintained strong relationships with the Brigade’s leadership, and soldiers and their families have received broad support from residents, businesses, city staff, and other community members. The Lakewood-Raider ties became especially close-knit starting in 2007, when the unit made its first deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Community members sent care packages to the unit while they were overseas, checked in on their families, hosted holiday events, and provided comfort kits for single Soldiers in their barracks rooms upon redeployment.
4-2 SBCT holds the distinction of being the last combat brigade conducting offensive operations to leave Iraq, which occurred during its second deployment to the region, from 2009-2010. In the fall of 2012, it also became the last Stryker Brigade Combat Team to deploy from JBLM to Afghanistan.
In June 2013, the Department of the Army announced that 4-2 SBCT would inactivate as part of the Army’s plan to complete post-war downsizing and force restructuring by the year 2020. 4-2 SBCT’s transition is slated to begin later this year.
Please join Soldier partners and their families on this special day to commemorate the “Raiders’ Return,” and to honor 4-2 SBCT’s brief but storied history as it prepares to permanently case its colors.