The Deactivation Ceremony (End of an Era, Part II)

Sunday, 12 June 2011, was a day we all dreaded to see arrive.  It was the day of an event we had all fought as hard as we could to keep from happening, but it did.

Home Station - Co F, 425 Inf

Few Rangers that still remain in the unit as most have been reassigned to other units or gotten out.  The mood was somber as former members watched the unit prepare for their final airborne operation.

No one was surprised that the jump came off perfectly and with no injuries. Three flights were made and five sticks were dropped.  However there were so few jumpers left in the company that everyone got at least two jumps.

At 1400 hrs the deactivation ceremony took place on the lawn outside of the armory.  The ceremony began with the 82nd Airborne Association drill team, presenting the colors.

The Final Formation

The new Adjutant General for the State of Michigan, MG Gregory Vadnais, was introduced and he conducted his part of the ceremony which included a reading of the history and honors of CO F.

Following that, CPT Adam Jenzen the Company Commander came to the podium and gave a great farewell speech for Company “F” which is included in full below.

CPT Adam Jenzen (The last "Old Man"

After his speech CPT Jenzen took his place before our company one last time and the Regimental Colors, were retired by simply encasing them.  A very austere ceremony, for an end to the greatest company the MIARNG has ever seen or will ever see again.

The National Colors were then retired and it was over.

And yes there were tears in the eyes of many of those present.

Thank you to former 1SG Ben Walker for his input to this post.


I would like to welcome all of our honored guests, friends, family, and former members.

I came to the unit in 2002 taking the position of unit armorer shortly after joining the Michigan National Guard following 4 years on active duty. I expected to serve a short time with Company F, just long enough to finish my degree, hopefully receive a commission and then move on to other things. Boy was I wrong…

Company F grows on you. Here, men were encouraged to constantly improve themselves through rigorous training that pushed soldiers to their limits. Those soldiers who choose to quit, were encouraged to seek units elsewhere. This mind-set instilled a sense of belonging to those who made it.

Through an established and well executed selection and training process basic soldiers were taught to become long range surveillance team members. With the support of their fellow soldiers, new recruits gained respect and earned their positions. Bonds were established through blood, sweat, and tears creating a warrior mentality that spurred self-confidence and devotion to the unit.

Company F became a home for these men, a sanctuary from the everyday world, where you were not judged on your social status, how much money you had, or what car you drove, but on your level of dedication and performance. The friendships that were made here and the sense of pride in each soldier and the unit as a whole is one of the reasons men chose to stay here, passing up promotion opportunities and career advancement in exchange for a true sense of self accomplishment.

Through the years, the men of Company F have prided themselves as being the most highly trained and tactically proficient soldiers in the Michigan Army National Guard. Through multiple overseas training events and two deployments we have demonstrated our professionalism and level of expertise. We have proven ourselves to be the best at what we do.

I wish that I could stand before you and discuss the unit’s future; unfortunately that is not the intent of this event.  Instead, I stand before you as the last commander of Company F. It is a solemn occasion, one that we hoped would never come. The men that you see here will be the last to don the red berets and proudly call themselves members of F Company, 425th Infantry.

We find ourselves in difficult times, being forced to make choices we would rather not make. Many of you have voiced your disdain and frustration at the events that have led to this moment. We have all pointed fingers, written letters, or searched for a course of action that we hoped could prolong this moment or alter the path we have been given. Unfortunately, the decisions have been made and the time has come for us to part ways.

I encourage you to brush off the chip on your shoulder and go forth, taking with you the lessons you learned while you were here. Develop new bonds and friendships, push your fellow soldiers to improve themselves, and pass on your knowledge and experience to others. Each of you have now been charged with the responsibility of being a representative of this Company. You must set the standard, and through your actions show others that while this unit may be gone, the principles we established and the professional soldiers we created live on.

Remember that you are and will always be a member of Company F.

Rangers Lead The Way.

For "Absent Friends"

Now gone, but never forgotten – We, the 425th Regimental Association, now carry on the lineage and honors of the best LRRP company in the U.S. Army!

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9 Responses to The Deactivation Ceremony (End of an Era, Part II)

  1. Bill Britt says:

    Absolutely the best unit ever was a part of.  Always worth the trip over from Chicago.  Met the best soldiers I ever served with and am extremely proud to have been there from 1981 through 1985.
    SFC W Britt USA (Ret)

  2. Jerry Haltom says:

    Co F will always be a part of me.  When someone asks if I served, I simply mutter I was once a part of Co F, and don’t try and explain anything more.  It would be impossible to tell someone who wasn’t familiar with the unit what it was all about and how really unique it was.  When I lay down for the last time on earth before I depart, and replay the parts of my life that have deep meaning, I fear I’ll not be able to get through the Co F. memories before I am taken because there are too many.  From the officers who ran it, to the NCOs who made things happen, to the patrols who did the impossible time and time again, Co F refused to become ordinary its whole existance.  I am honored to have served a brief part of her existance and to have been associated with all of you who ever did as well. 

  3. RWangen says:

    It wasn’t ROTC or my Infantry Officer Basic Course that taught me how to be a leader, it was Company F. The commanders and officers that I served and the NCO’s that took the time to work with me (who I also served, not led) taught me how to lead. Company F showed me professionalism at all levels. I joined Co F as a Platoon Leader in 1972. Many of our soldiers joined the Guard to avoid the draft. While they may have never won the Fort Benning “Tiger Tactics” award, they were sharp. While they would take advantage of every opportunity to slack off, they were soldiers and Rangers, and showed it in their operations in the field.
    CPT Jenzen said it best in his comments, “Company F became a home for these men, a sanctuary from the everyday world, where you were not judged on your social status, how much money you had, or what car you drove, but on your level of dedication and performance. The friendships that were made here and the sense of pride in each soldier and the unit as a whole is one of the reasons men chose to stay here, passing up promotion opportunities and career advancement in exchange for a true sense of self accomplishment.”
    Be all you can be may have been a recruiting slogan, but it was reality in Co F. No matter where you came from, what ethnic group you may belonged to, how much money you made, it was your performance that mattered – did you do your job, did you support your team? That is what mattered. Co F was the most enjoyable experience of my career. When I left Co F, I had to exchange enjoyment for professional satisfaction.
    Most of my success as a self-employed trainer and consultant is due to what I learned in Co F.
    To the officers, NCOs and soldiers of Co F, I cannot thank you enough.
    Rangers, Lead the Way!

  4. Jim Cox says:

    I joined F co in the early ’80s, worked in 2ndplt for several years. Being that I came over from the Air Force, I had a lot to learn about the army. Probably the first thing I learned was how many pushups a trooper could do in 1 day.
     I got out a couple times, even considered joining another unit,but when I went to see those units, I knew I would always be a F company.
      I finally got my head squred away, came back and went to Iraq in ’04 with these guys.  That is my proudest achievement in uniform  and I’m a Viet Nam vet.
      I will never forget the men I served with, will never forget the pride, professionalism and camadrie that made F company 425 the BEST National Guard unit in the ENTIRE US Army system. I will be buried in my dress blues with my red beret and jump wings

  5. David Green says:

    Served with Company F from 1977 to 1979 when I enlisted with Company F.  The best unit ever in the MIARNG.  Sad to see the unit deactivated.  Many good memories even though I only served 2 years with the unit.  Rangers Lead the Way – Airborne

  6. Gary Aleksander says:

    I served with Co. F back in 1985 when it was still a Ranger Company….My best memories were our wintercamp to Germany in Feb. when we pulled LRRP’S on the East German/Chech border. We spend several days @ this SF listening post which was more like Ice Station Zebra. Spent a lot of time up in Grayling injuried in an Hilo-casting accident, fractured multiple ribs and  concussion…spent about 3-4 month’s on medical leave…we lost a fellow Ranger from that…he drawned in the lake…very sad funeral. Another memorable LRRP’S was when we had Great Brittian’s SAS here during a summercampthose guy’s were pretty hard-core!… I certainly miss my days there w/Co. F….sad to see the unit deactivated!

  7. Raymond a Bradford says:

    It’s been some 20 year’s since I had the pleasure of standing in formation outside the Pontiac home bldg. After serving some 13 years in the army, the 425th is the one company that I seem to thank about the most the brotherhood, the friendships, the men beside you. I once had a unit coin that was displayed in my den with so many pictures tell some one stole it I only recently found this web site and was proud to see it I will never forget this unit or the men I served with.

  8. RWangen says:

    Hey Ray,

    Glad to hear from you. We are having a Dining In on April 12th. Watch this website for more information on this event.

  9. Raymond a Bradford says:

    Thank you ,I look forward to the event

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