42nd Medical Detachment Optometry Soldiers deploy to Iraq
September 4, 2009
- A deployment ceremony was held Aug. 28 at Army Community Service for six Soldiers from the 42nd Medical Detachment Optometry and their Fami
- Optometry teams in Iraq
A deployment ceremony was held Aug. 28 at Army Community Service for six Soldiers from the 42nd Medical Detachment Optometry and their Families.
"There are typically five optometry teams in Iraq at any given time ... between 11 and 13 optometrists and just over 40 supporting eye technicians and opticians are basing in Iraq each year.
These teams are currently at 11 Forward Operating Bases; each team provides support for over 15,000 service members," said guest speaker Lt. Col. Scott Fischer, commander, 264th Medical Battalion.
"That's a huge responsibility for these Soldiers to undertake and they are absolutely ready for it," he said.
"I am one of the biggest fans of Army Optometry," he explained. "Earlier this year I was in an accident and a pair of Army issue glasses made here at Fort Sam Houston saved the vision in my right eye."
The 42nd was activated and reorganized in January and since the reorganization they have been training for deployment.
"First (Capt. Ginger Purpura) was away at school for eight years, then she joined the Army and now she will be away for a year on deployment," said Georgia Purpura, Ginger's mother. "This ceremony really helped. She is my baby girl; this is not easy for me."
Frank and Georgia Purpura came down from Edmund, Okla., to spend time with their daughter before she deployed to Iraq.
Purpura said this is her first deployment. She joined the Army to receive the education she needed to become an optometrist.
Fischer said he wanted to impart a piece of advice that his father shared with him when he left home for the Army. "Have faith. Have faith in your training, have faith in your equipment, have faith in your leaders. When the days are long and seem like they will never end, have faith."
He encouraged the Families to also have faith saying, "We are only a phone call away and we will do everything we can to support you and your Soldiers while they are deployed. Each of these young men and women are heroes."
Spc. Karl Abian and his wife Yadi have been married four years. Yadi is seven months pregnant. "We are having a baby girl," said Abian.
Spc. Thomas Kamo and his wife, Victoria, were just married on Aug. 5. "I will be moving to Fort Hood in about two months to be with my sister while he is gone," said Victoria.
"I look forward to the day we can welcome you back home. Until then may the faith and prayers of a nation guide you on your mission," said Fischer.