67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade stands up in November

Story by: Spc. Lisa Crawford
Posted: 11/7/2016
New Colors, New Brigade

Brig. Gen. Kevin Lyons stands at attention as Col. Craig Strong and Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn Griffith unfurl the colors of the new 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Nov. 5, at the Spirit of ‘76 Armory in Lincoln. (Nebraska National Guard photo by Sgt. Jason Drager)

The colors of the 67th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade were permanently cased in exchange for the debut uncasing of the 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, Nov. 5, at the Spirit of ’76 Armory in Lincoln.

The inactivation ceremony for the 67th BfSB capped the nine-year history for the Nebraska Army National Guard brigade that served in a critical capacity for higher level commands by managing ground and air reconnaissance assets and providing a robust military intelligence and analysis function. The colors of the 67th BfSB were originally uncased on Sept. 1, 2007, when the brigade was formed from the 67th Area Support Group, which has direct historic ties to the Nebraska Guard’s most famous organization: the 134th Infantry Regiment of World War II fame.

According to Nebraska officials, the November activation ceremony was historic in nature.

“Thank you for coming today to experience and be a part of history with the state of Nebraska,” said Big. Gen. Kevin Lyons, Nebraska Army National Guard land component commander, at the start of the ceremonies.

The day’s events included four abbreviated ceremonies packed into one: the deactivation of the 67th BfSB, the activation of the 67th MEB, and both the brigade’s change of command from Col. Richard Gray to Col. Craig Strong, and change of responsibility from Command Sgt. Maj. Wilfred Uhing to Command Sgt. Maj. Shawn Griffith.

“Colonel Craig Strong…is the next person to assume command of the 67th MEB to take you to the next level…to prepare this brigade to be one of the top brigades in the United States,” Lyons said. “We have the Soldiers already that are in the top of the United States, and now we are going to take this brigade and continue to transform and meet our objectives as we move forward.”

Gray and Uhing both knew about the upcoming transition when they took their respective positions with the 67th BfSB and worked diligently to continue training while preparing for the move to a MEB.

“It provided a great challenge to us and the staff to synchronize it,” Gray said of the transition. “To know that our brigade will be called on, maybe not today but in the future, and in the same manner it provides an excellent opportunity to really every Soldier throughout the Nebraska Army National Guard because it allows us to grow in senior positions as well as the opportunity to transition to a different job, different MOS, should they seek that out.”

The activation of the 67th MEB is the latest step in the largest reorganization of Nebraska Army National Guard units in a generation, affecting roughly one out of every three Soldiers in Nebraska.

Like the BfSB before it, the 67th MEB will continue to provide critical capabilities for higher level (division, corps, theater) commands, but will do so by securing and managing rear areas, allowing accompanying brigade combat teams to focus on the forward fight.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and Maj. Gen. Daryl Bohac, adjutant general, announced the Nebraska Army National Guard’s transformation Nov. 17, 2015. While the transformation is centered around the 67th BfSB, it affects roughly 1,100 Nebraska Army National Guard Soldiers in 16 communities.

The Nebraska Army National Guard force structure transformation affects units in Lincoln, Omaha, Beatrice, Columbus, York, Hastings, Kearney, Grand Island, Mead, O’Neill, Broken Bow, North Platte, McCook, Sydney, Scottsbluff and Chadron. The major changes to the units will occur over the course of roughly three years.

The 67th MEB is specifically designed to maintain and secure supply lines and to maintain freedom of maneuver and action throughout the combat area, according to unit officials.

The structure of the MEB aligns with both domestic and federal mission sets providing greater flexibility and capability to both the governor and geographic combatant commanders, Guard officials say.

The brigade’s inherent engineering, military police and chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological consequence management capabilities are uniquely able to meet the needs of a local or state disaster as well as the combat needs in a theater of war. 

This dual nature makes the brigade an ideal asset to have in the state and the Army inventory.

According to Gray, the final commander of the 67th BfSB, the brigade Soldiers performed amazing work that will help the new organization hit the ground running.

“You’re outstanding in every way,” Gray said the Soldiers of the 67th MEB. “Your dedication as a Citizen Soldier is tremendous today, because we ask more of you than just 39 days…we ask much, much more, and our Soldiers come forward in every way.”

“Colonel Strong, Sergeant Major Griffith, you have a great, but brand new staff,” Gray said. “They’re excellent, well trained in their jobs and they’re going to do great work for you. So we really, across the board, transitioned this brigade in every way.”

Strong, the brigade’s incoming commander, closed out the extended ceremony by, “most importantly,” welcoming the Soldiers of the 67th MEB. 

“I say most importantly because you are who embody this brigade and represent the best of this state; the best of this nation,” Strong said.

“We are Nebraska’s brigade and ‘All Hell Can’t Stop Us’.”