Answering the call -- 597th Maint. Co. sends Soldiers downrange
November 18, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Several Soldiers left Fort Rucker Nov. 10 for what could be considered a "Fast and Furious" deployment.
Members of a special repair activity team in the 597th Maintenance Company will spend the next several months providing services in Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq, according to Capt. Brad DeLoach, 597th Maint. Co. commander.
"They're all trained up and definitely ready to go," DeLoach said. "The team is an air traffic control service and repair team. If something breaks, they can go in and fix it."
DeLoach said the team has gone through a lot of specialized training in preparation for its deployment.
Most members of the team have deployed before, but some Soldiers are experiencing their first time going downrange.
"I've never deployed before, but I'm more excited than nervous," said Spc. Aaron Hibbs, 597th Maint. Co. air traffic control equipment repair specialist. "I'm ready to get that patch on my right arm."
Hibbs said the other members of his team who've been to the Middle East before gave him pointers and helped prepare him for what he might see while overseas.
"They said it would probably be stressful, but they told me how to keep my cool," he said.
This deployment will be shorter than previous times out for most of the team. However, that doesn't mean it is any less taxing on them or their Families.
"My last deployment was 15 months, but it's still hard to say goodbye," said Staff Sgt. Clifford Linnell, 597th Maint. Co. SRA Team leader.
Linnell had to bid his wife, Heather, and their two sons farewell for the second time. While Heather knows he won't be gone as long this time, the feeling was still the same as it was the first time.
"It's always hard," she said. "We never like saying goodbye."
The Family spent time in Florida and visiting with other Family members to prepare for this deployment, Clifford said.
Before the team departed from the 597th Maint. Co. headquarters at Knox Army Heliport, DeLoach imparted some final words of encouragement and advice.
"Stay safe, but remain alert," he said. "The 597th Maint. Co. does great things when it goes downrange."
Maj. Jack Stewart, 597th Maint. Co. rear detachment commander, also made sure to give the team some final words before it left.
"The (597th Maint. Co.) always gets the job done and done to standard," said Stewart. "It's been doing an outstanding job since 2003 and it will continue to do an outstanding job."