Deploy 13
A well wisher brings a smile to the face of a Fort Sill Soldier as she shakes hands during deployment ceremonies for 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery April 11, 2013, at Rinehart Fitness Center. Lawton area veterans come out to support Soldiers and give words of encouragement to them during deployment and redeployment ceremonies. The 1-14th FA will deploy to the United Arab Emirates in the next few weeks.

FORT SILL, Okla. (April 18, 2013) -- Soldiers, family members and distinguished guests from the Lawton-Fort Sill community honored more than 300 Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 14th Field Artillery during a deployment ceremony April 11 at Rinehart Fitness Center.

The Soldiers are preparing to deploy to the United Arab Emirates to conduct security cooperations, deliver timely and accurate fires and build a trusting relationship with international allies. This partnership promotes security, stability and mutual interest in the region.

"I am happy that I am finally getting a chance to deploy with a combat unit," said Spc. David Perez, a health care specialist, preparing for his first deployment. "I have been waiting to deploy ever since I joined the Army."

The battalion completed most of its pre-mobilization training for this deployment at Fort Sill allowing the soon to be departing Soldiers to spend more time with their families.

The battalion will leave in three stages. More than 50 Soldiers have already left and are in country. The other two stages of around 150 Soldiers will take off within the next couple weeks. Lt. Col. JP Maddaloni, who took command of the battalion Feb. 27, will be leading his troops in the UAE.

For Staff Sgt. Geoffery Landon this will be his fifth deployment.

"This deployment is based on helping build a stronger UAE and getting closer to our allies in the area," said Landon. "My previous deployments were more combat related.

"I am looking forward to the opportunity to experience something different and new," he said.

These times apart may introduce different stresses to a family regardless of how many times a Soldiers has deployed.

Most people would agree there are two things that will help keep the battalion focused on its mission: a strong rear detachment and family members.

"My spouse has supported me in everything I have done in my career," said Landon. "She is an amazing wife."

Latonya McLaughlin, wife of 1st Sgt. Michael McLaughlin, B Battery, 1-14th FA, said deployments are something that she prepares for daily with the amount of time and love she puts into their family.

"Although it never gets easy I know and accept that this is something that is necessary for his job and our nation's freedom," she said.

"I am so proud of him because I know not everyone was cut out to do this job, but my husband surely was," said Latonya. "I try to do my part for the mission by making sure I am well abreast of everything to make our home run smoothly and efficiently so that he can focus on what we call the sub-mission."

Page last updated Thu April 18th, 2013 at 00:00