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Passing the torch: Ceremony to inactivate Cedar Rapids based National Guard battalion

Iowa National Guard ceremony also is Saturday in Cedar Rapids

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CEDAR RAPIDS — The Iowa Army National Guard ceremony Saturday will recognize the activation, and inactivation, of two Cedar Rapids-based battalions.

The ceremony is 1 p.m. at the Prairie Point Middle School football field. In case of rain, the location will move to the Armed Forces Reserve Center.

The Guard will recognize the activation of the 224th Brigade Engineer Battalion, headquartered in Cedar Rapids.

At the same time, the Guard is deactivating the Cedar Rapids-based Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division (2-34 BSTB).

The public is welcome for the ceremony.

About 80 soldiers will transition to the 224th Brigade Engineer Battalion from the former 224th Engineer Headquarters and Headquarters Company. Col. Greg Hapgood, public affairs officer for the Iowa National Guard, said the ceremony is a result of nationwide restructuring.

The activating battalion will uncase its colors while the inactivating unit will case its colors.

Every Army command, brigade or regiment has an individual flag, often known as its colors, with its own unit crest and motto. When a unit is deactivated, its colors are cased, or

retired, to the Center of Military History in Washington, D.C.

Unit color policies date to the Revolutionary War, according to the Army, and the tradition is rooted in a Western European tradition of soldiers recognizing their unit in battle.

“They would commonly use these (colors) to let the troops to see what the commander wanted them to do,” Hapgood said.

When an Army unit is activated, a new flag is uncased at its new station.

2-34 BSTB was constituted in 1959 to the Iowa Army National Guard as the 234th Signal Battalion. It was deployed to Iraq in 2003 to 2004. The 2-34 BSTB was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010 to 2011.

The unit traces its history to the 168th infantry regiment, according to the news release, which was recognized for participation in World War I and World War II.

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