Unit from Fort Gordon is going to Iraq again

On Jan. 22, about 140 soldiers prepared for their deployment to the Middle East in a time-honored Army ceremony called the casing of colors.

Members of the 518th Tactical Installation Networking Company gathered on Barton Field as their leaders rolled up the unit guidon and placed it in a case, signaling their readiness to deploy.

"This unit has a long, proud history," said Lt. Col. Peter J. Tragakis, commander of the 67th Signal Battalion, of which the company is part.

Lt. Col. Tragakis traced the 518th's history to 1938, when it was activated as a radio intelligence company at Fort Monmouth, N.J. The unit served during World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. It returned from the Middle East 12 months ago after a 15-month deployment.

"They are trained to install, operate and maintain tactical systems," he said. "They are well prepared to provide critical communication through voice, data and video."

Capt. Meeshack Lee, the company commander, has a lot of confidence in his troops.

"The unit is read to move forward to conduct its missions," he said.

The unit was scheduled to deploy this week.

Reach Charmain Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.

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