JBLM's artillery command heads overseas for nine-month mission in unnamed country

Staff writerApril 18, 2014 

Command Sgt. Maj. Edward Russell and Col. Tim Kehoe cased the colors for the headquarters of the 17th Field Artillery Brigade at a ceremony Thursday night. About 60 soldiers in the command group are deploying to an unadvertised location in the Middle East.

U.S. ARMY

Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s chief artillery headquarters left the South Sound this week for a nine-month assignment at an undisclosed location in the Middle East.

The 17th Field Artillery Brigade took about 60 soldiers from its command group for the assignment, the brigade public affairs officer said. They left Lewis-McChord late Thursday.

The soldiers are not heading to Iraq or Afghanistan. They will serve in a Middle East country that does not want to advertise the presence of U.S. soldiers in its boundaries.

The U.S. military has active-duty troops stationed throughout the region protecting its assets.

The command group is joining one of its subordinate units. About 300 soldiers from the brigade deployed to the same country in December under the flag of the brigade’s 1st Battalion, 94th Artillery Regiment.

“The brigade leadership is confident in the capabilities of our deploying soldiers and we know that this will be a successful deployment,” said brigade Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Michael Anders. 

The 17th Field Artillery Brigade until this year was known as the 17th Fires Brigade. It is composed of battalions that fire High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HiMARS) and it advises other artillery units at Lewis-McChord.

The brigade as a whole last deployed to Iraq in 2009. Its subordinate battalions have also fought in Afghanistan. 

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