142nd Signal Brigade Set for Inactivation

The 142nd Signal Brigade will inactivate and leave the Alabama Army National Guard troop structure at the end of August 2008.  An inactivation ceremony for the headquarters and headquarters company of the brigade was held last Sunday in Decatur.

Brig. Gen. Brooks Hodges, the 142nd brigade commander, and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Russell L. Quinn, the senior enlisted advisor to the 142nd commander, carefully cased the unit flag and saluted the cased colors during the ceremony. The colors were then retired, signifying the inactivation of the unit.

Maj. Gen. Abner C. Blalock, adjutant general of Alabama, praised the 142nd members for their service in both state and federal missions.  "This is a solemn occasion we meet for here today, but it is a time we can honor the many things the 142nd Signal Brigade has accomplished," Blalock said.

"It is also a time to recognize the past and present members of the 142nd and the contributions they made to our state and nation," he said.  Blalock said that all the signal brigade members will be able to continue to serve in the Alabama Army National Guard if they desire.

Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Quinn, who will retire later this year after more than 35 years of military service, expressed mixed emotions after the program. "This is a sad but glorious day for the 142nd.  The unit has a long and proud heritage of service from many years ago up through the global war on terror," Quinn said.

One day prior to the 142nd ceremony, the 279th Signal Battalion held its inactivation ceremony in Huntsville. The 279th headquarters are in Huntsville with companies or detachments in Huntsville, Albertville, Arab, Hanceville, and Jasper.

Other signal battalions assigned to the 142nd are in the process of inactivating or transforming to other Army structures.  Two are in the Alabama Army Guard, the 115th in the Florence area, and the 711th in the Mobile are.  The other unit is the 29th Signal Battalion, an active Army unit located at Fort Lewis, Wash.

The 115th Signal Battalion in Florence will transform into the 115th Integrated Theater Signal Battalion concurrent with the 142nd inactivation. The 115th headquarters will move from Florence to Decatur, replacing the 142nd Signal Brigade.

The 711th Signal Battalion in Mobile will transform to the 711th Brigade Support Battalion during fiscal year 2009. The battalion will case its unit colors and uncase the colors of the new unit at a future date. The 29th Signal Battalion at Fort Lewis has already converted to a new Active Army Signal unit and is no longer under the command and control of the 142nd.

Other units have been allocated to the Alabama Guard to backfill for units lost under the transformation. The U.S. Army's transformation goal is to meet the challenges of today's war on terror while at the same time preparing to fight the wars of tomorrow.

The transformation will provide the U.S. Army with modular combat teams that are lighter and more mobile.  Units can be designed and configured for particular missions as needed by commanders.

Information and Photos Courtesy: State Military Department

First Photo: 142nd Casing of the Colors/"Brig. Gen. Brooks Hodges (right-front), and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Russell Quinn (left-front), prepare the colors of the 142nd Signal Brigade for casing for the final time during an inactivation ceremony in Decatur.  The 142nd brigade headquarters and three battalions are among a number of units of the Alabama Army National Guard transforming to other units and missions."

Second Photo:  1982/ Lt. Col. Roland Partin (center foreground) and Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Jearl Brooks (left foreground) furl the colors of the 279th Signal Battalion signifying the inactivation of the Alabama Army Guard's unit as Brig. Gen. Brooks Hodges (right), 142nd Signal Brigade commander, observes.  Pfc. Jeff Harper (left) holds the staff containing the 279th battalion colors.