Leaders of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division rolled up the unit's red and yellow flag bearing a black silhouetted horse's head on a shield and encased it in a khaki cover today during a ceremony symbolizing an end to training and the start of a dangerous mission to Iraq.

The next time the 4-1 Cavalry's colors are unfurled it will be in Baghdad where nearly 4,000 soldiers in the unit will be facing life in a combat zone.

Some soldiers already are traveling to Kuwait where they will stay for about two weeks before moving on to Baghdad. The rest will be on their way by the first week in November, a brigade spokesman said.

Their mission is to train Iraqi security forces, which include both Army and law enforcement. They also will keep the peace by patrolling the streets of a city where sectarian violence has been growing in recent weeks.

"We're combat ready and we're anxious to prove our mettle," said Col. Stephen Twitty, 4-1 commander, during the ceremony.

Although the nation's top military commanders have been asking for more money to replace and repair equipment that has been in heavy use, Twitty said after the ceremony that his unit has what it needs to succeed.

"We have solely focused on building a brigade combat team and no one has bothered us," Twitty said. "We have the equipment, most of which came in here new. We have vast land to train on at Fort Bliss, which is a huge plus."

The unit was formed only a year ago, but many of its soldiers already have done multiple tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Webmaster note:   The 2/12th Cavalry is part of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. The 12th Cavalry Regiment Association was represented at the ceremony by the Honorary Sergeant Major of the Regiment, MSGT (R) John Berger.