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By Spc. Shane Eschenburg
V Corps Public Affairs Office

SCHWETZINGEN, Germany -- V Corps Artillery uncased its unit colors February 1

to officially bring its second yearlong deployment in support of Operation Iraqi

Freedom to a close.

VCA Commander Col. Richard G. Cardillo Jr. and

Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Cabrera oversaw the

ceremony conducted before more than 150

Soldiers, family members, civilian employees and

friends in the Tompkins Barracks gymnasium


The uncasing of VCA’s banner signifies the

Soldiers are officially back at home station in

SPC SHANE ESCHENBURG Germany and that their most recent combat
V Corps Artillery Commander Col. Richard G.
Cardillo Jr. (left) and Command Sgt. Maj. mission is complete.
Charles Cabrera uncase the VCA colors in a
ceremony at Tompkins Barracks in
Schwetzingen, Germany February 1, signifying
the end of the unit’s second yearlong
deployment in support of Operation Iraqi
“Today marks the day when the rear detachment can finally breathe a sigh of relief,”

said Cardillo in his remarks at the ceremony.

“Mission accomplished. Job well done,” said Cardillo in recognition of key members of

the rear detachment who cared for VCA’s unit and family affairs during the

deployment. “These leaders performed magnificently over the past year (in) dealing

with every issue imaginable and solving them. This allowed us the freedom to

accomplish our mission.”

That deployed mission centered on forming the nucleus of Multi-National Corps –

Iraq Joint Fires and Effects Coordination Cell. The cell’s primary task was to

integrate MNCI units’ lethal and non-lethal fires and effects, and conduct lethal and

non-lethal targeting.

While many of VCA’s tasks were traditional to a field artillery unit, its members also

tackled missions outside their normal spectrum.

Those missions included disseminating more than 30,000 minutes of television and

nearly 19,000 minutes of radio air time; writing more than 1,700 print articles;

preparing 180 billboards and more than 50,000 video compact disks, and tracking

numerous Iraqi reconstruction and economic reform projects.

In addition, VCA members orchestrated the killing or capture of 21 operational and

strategic high-value individuals such as Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab Al-

Zarqawi, as well as hundreds of tactical insurgents and terrorists.

VCA’s NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Catherine Catano, served as the unit’s operations

sergeant during the unit’s deployment. Catano said Iraq is continually changing as it

rebuilds itself, and added that it feels great to know VCA helped the Iraqi people.

Cardillo expressed his appreciation to his Soldiers many times during the uncasing

ceremony, particularly for those non-traditional missions they tackled during their

year in Iraq.

“These Soldiers did an outstanding job -- especially one they are not used to doing.

They completely went outside their sandbox and did an excellent job,” said Cardillo.

The uncasing ceremony, however, was a bittersweet moment for VCA. Now that the

unit is back at home station its next mission will be its last -- preparing to inactivate

the 85-year-old unit this summer.