Guard Battalion Releases Units After Successful Afghanistan Campaign

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Guam –  Two units from the Guam Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment were released from duty June 8, signifying their2013 Operation Enduring Freedom responsibilities have officially ended.

Echo Company, commanded by Capt. Joey San Nicolas, wasdeactivated June 8 during a ceremony at the Guam Guard’s Barrigada headquarters. Foxtrot Company, led by Capt. Kristin Ramos, was detached by the battalion and sent back to its original status under the 105th Troop Command. The units were amongst the seven line companies that occupied all six NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) regions, serving as the largest mobilization in Guam history. Close to 600 Guam Army Guardsmen deployed for this purpose.

Capt. Joey San Nicolas, left, Commander, E Co folds the unit flag with First Sgt.Duane Perez. (Released: Maj. Josephine Blas, Public Affairs Officer, Guam National Guard).

Echo was the most dispersed unit. Its presence was in fiveAfghanistan locations, as far east near the Pakistan border to deepwithin the country’s capital, Kabul. The Soldiers performed about 2,000 missions, serving as guardian angels, providing personalsecurity and performing security forces. The company formed shortlybefore OEF with Soldiers from other units.

“We were the most decentralized unit serving in Afghanistan andprobably the busiest unit,” San Nicolas said. “Echo wasn’t organic tothe 294th. But it was an outstanding opportunity to lead troops intobattle. The most memorable thing was the entire tour itself, workingwith great Soldiers and great leaders.”

Echo Soldiers occupied 14 provinces.

Since returning home late December, Guam Guard leaders sought toreturn Echo Soldiers to their original units. As company commander, Ramos succeeded Maj. Florante Manaloto last September in Afghanistan. She marked Guam history, becoming the first-ever female company commander deployed to acombat zone. She served as Foxtrot executive officer prior to hercurrent position.

“Get everybody home,” Ramos said after her change ofcommand, on her No. 1 priority as leader. “It’s the sign of the times. They’re allowing females greater combat roles. It’s a challenge, andI’m looking forward to being successful at it.”

In Afghanistan, Foxtrot was stationed at Kandahar Airfield, oneof the busiest locations in southern Afghanistan. Foxtrot completedmore than 1,000 missions, serving as guardian angels, securityforces and personal security.

During the ceremony, San Nicolas and 1st Sgt. Duane Perez, Echo first sergeant, furled the unit guidon and Perez marched off withit. This symbolized the unit’s end.

The Guam battalion continues operations with Headquarters,Alpha, Bravo, Charlie and Delta companies, along with supportelements. It remains the largest of all Guam National Guard units.

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Capt. Joey San Nicolas hands E Co unit guidon to Lt. Col. Michael Tougher signifying the deactivation of his unit. (Released: Maj. Josephine Blas, Public Affairs Officer, Guam National Guard).

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Capt. Kristin Ramos, Commander, F Co, leads the Soldiers of her unit as they march from the ceremony signifying the detachment of F Co from the 1-294th InfantryRegiment. (Released: Maj. Josephine Blas, Public Affairs Officer, Guam National Guard).