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51st Signal Battalion gears up to deploy

B Company headed for Afghanistan

Capt. Bryan Zeski and 1st Sgt. Joshua Smith case the 51st Signal Battalion’s B Company colors. /Melissa Renahan

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During a ceremony Aug. 20 on Joint Base Lewis-McChord North, the B Company 51st Signal Battalion cased their colors in preparation for their imminent deployment.

Last August the entire battalion redeployed from Iraq and now, almost one year later to the day, the unit's B Company will be leaving for Afghanistan. In those 12 months, the unit has reset and B Company in particular has been working on training, from combatitives to the implementation of a battalion-sized network. In early June they also traveled to the JRTC in Fort Polk to train on handling things like IEDs and detainees.

"Families, share my confidence and pride in your soldiers," said Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Gary Ridenhauer. "They stand before you very trained and ready to deploy in order to support this great country. And accept my assurance that we have done everything to make sure they are ready."

While downrange, the soldiers in B Company will fall under the 86th Signal Battalion in order to provide communication support to United States Central Command forces.

Capt. Bryan Zeski, B Company's commander who has been in command for five months, said that while this will be a challenge for him, he is looking forward to the experience.

"We'll do it well, accomplish our mission and come home safely," Zeski said during the ceremony.

Although the entire 51st Signal Battalion has deployed three times to Iraq, this will be B Company's first deployment to Afghanistan.

"Sending just one company is new to us," said Ridenhauer. "For the first time in a long time we'll be split and there is no harder thing for a commander to do, but this is the finest expeditionary signal company and they will do well."

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