CLEARFIELD – Every so often companies re-evaluate their business plan to make sure that they are meeting the changing needs of the times. The armed services are no different in that respect, offering new training as the enemies faced by the United States change and evolve.
Because of that, the U.S. Army’s 629th Transportation Company of Clearfield, DuBois and Lock Haven held a deactivation ceremony Saturday. The unit will not officially become inactive until Sept. 15 of this year, but Saturday’s ceremony honored all of those who have served to protect the United States in times of war and in times of peace.
The 159 soldiers in the company will be reassigned to new units based on the Army’s needs.
“The 629th Transportation Company will never be inactive in our hearts and minds,” said state Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 of Houtzdale, who spoke at the ceremony.
“Their service is time-tested and proven, and their dedication is impeccable,” he said.
Chief Warrant Officer Allen L. Metheny was the company commander of the 629th, and he said the main reason for the change was to ensure that the Army remains competitive on the battlefield.
“We are an Army at war, and we are a military at war against Islamic extremists.”
The 629th Transportation played a significant role in that war, being deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and the Global War on Terrorism. The unit was stationed in the Middle East from April 2003 through April 2004. The mission included more than 2.1 million miles of travel.
Right now, 20 soldiers of the 629th Transportation Company are deployed with other units.
As for the future, the company’s members will move to the 298th Transportation Company and the 298th Maintenance Company.
Col. John C. Skelly III, reviewing officer, said that the deactivation and reassignment reflects the process of change through which the Army is moving. As part of that change, the Army began issuing new uniforms, and all soldiers should have the new uniform by 2007.
The new Army combat uniform is shown on the fourth man from the left. The most striking difference is that black has been removed from the camouflage. The older Army uniforms are seen on the other men. (Dawn Walls)
The new fabric is wrinkle-free and features a digitized camouflage pattern. The front pockets were moved to the uniform’s shoulders so that they can be accessed while the soldier is wearing body armor. Buttons, used on the older uniforms, have been replaced with zippers. Boots are now brown instead of the former black.
The 629th Transportation Company currently does not have any campaign credits or decorations, but a request has been made to receive credit for participating in the Global War on Terrorism.