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Soldiers of the 22nd Signal Brigade salute during the playing of the national anthem at the ceremony inactivating the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions.

Soldiers of the 22nd Signal Brigade salute during the playing of the national anthem at the ceremony inactivating the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

Soldiers of the 22nd Signal Brigade salute during the playing of the national anthem at the ceremony inactivating the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions.

Soldiers of the 22nd Signal Brigade salute during the playing of the national anthem at the ceremony inactivating the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

Lt. Col. Derek Orndorff, right, commander of the 440th Signal Battalion, holds the guidon as Master Sgt. Ricardo Weems prepares to case the colors at the inactivation ceremony for the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions in Darmstadt, Germany, on Tuesday.

Lt. Col. Derek Orndorff, right, commander of the 440th Signal Battalion, holds the guidon as Master Sgt. Ricardo Weems prepares to case the colors at the inactivation ceremony for the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions in Darmstadt, Germany, on Tuesday. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

Soldiers of the 22nd Signal Brigade's 440th Signal Battalion march off the Kelley Barracks, Darmstadt, parade field at the conclusion of the ceremony inactivating the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions.

Soldiers of the 22nd Signal Brigade's 440th Signal Battalion march off the Kelley Barracks, Darmstadt, parade field at the conclusion of the ceremony inactivating the 22nd Signal Brigade and the 440th and 32nd Signal Battalions. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

Col. Frederick Cross, right, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Graves roll up the colors of the 22nd Signal Brigade during the unit's inactivation ceremony.

Col. Frederick Cross, right, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Graves roll up the colors of the 22nd Signal Brigade during the unit's inactivation ceremony. (Michael Abrams / S&S)

European edition, Wednesday, May 23, 2007

DARMSTADT, Germany — Col. Frederick A. Cross knows his brigade has been through inactivation before, but this time, he said, it could be permanent.

“In my heart I’m hoping the 22nd will come back in some shape or form, but I don’t know,” he said Friday after rehearsing for his unit’s inactivation.

When he directed the action on the parade field at Kelley Barracks on Tuesday, though, he wasn’t just going through the motions.

The brigade, along with its 32nd and 440th Signal Battalions, cased its colors Tuesday, closing the book, possibly for good, on the Army’s most highly decorated signal brigade as part of the Army’s restructuring.

“What we witnessed today is Army transformation before our eyes,” Brig. Gen. Donald M. Campbell Jr., deputy commander of V Corps, said in remarks during the ceremony.

The 22nd, 32nd and 440th have served in Europe in various capacities and at various times since World War II, earning numerous campaign streamers and citations for their involvement in that war and several conflicts and peacekeeping operations since.

All three deployed twice to Iraq, returning one final time last fall.

As the signal unit of U.S. Army V Corps, 22nd provided the bulk of communications for the Army in Iraq during the first year of the war. The soldiers of 32nd rolled along with the first wave of U.S. troops into Iraq in March 2003 while 440th provided the crucial link between combat units at the front and U.S. strategic planners in Kuwait.

During its second Iraq stint, the unit operated and maintained a vast communications network that covered an area larger than California. The brigade also oversaw a massive transition from old and obsolete communication systems to newer, more capable systems and the establishment of the Joint Network Operations Control Center-Iraq, which provides central oversight of the military’s information network.

“I’m saddened but very comfortable today knowing that this chapter of the brigade’s illustrious history is complete,” Cross said near the end of a speech in which he heaped praise on his soldiers and the civilians and families who support the unit.

The inactivation is part of the Army’s plan to inactivate all signal brigades assigned to Army corps. The corps are also reorganizing.

“I’m sad to see it go,” said 1st Lt. Alicia Burrows, executive officer of Company C, 32nd Signal Battalion. “There’s been great leadership and mentorship here. The soldiers have been outstanding.”

“Although the colors may be cased, I am comfortable knowing that the 22nd Signal Brigade will live on through each soldier,” Cross said.

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