FORT BENNING, Ga. - Twenty-one Soldiers with Fort Benning's first active movement control company deployed Wednesday to Afghanistan.

The 497th Movement Control Company embarked on a yearlong tour to Kandahar with the mission of tracking military supplies, equipment and vehicles entering and traveling in the country. The estimated value of items the unit will track on a daily basis could be up to $10 million, said Capt. Travis Tribble, company commander.

"We're like a UPS tracking system, but better," he said.

In addition to maintaining visibility of military assets, information the movement control team gathers could also benefit battlefield decision-making, Tribble said.

Despite its small size, the unit's presence will be felt - just as it has been at Fort Benning, said Spc. Simon Roybal.

Though you may not have heard of the 497th MCC, chances are you've heard of some of their more notable cargo. The 497th MCC tracks the arrival and departure of military equipment by rail, including the new Abrams M1A2 SEPv2 tanks that were delivered last month to the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team.

"We're not like large units like the 3rd Infantry Division, but we're all pieces that make up the pie," said Roybal, who's deploying for the second time.

The 497th MCC was activated at Fort Benning in the fall of 2009. Prior to that, the unit was based in Vicenza, Italy. This will be the unit's third deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Family members gathered at the 13th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion's parking lot to say goodbye before the Soldiers boarded a bus for the 100-mile trip to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

Jessie Taylor, wife of Spc. Scott Taylor, said this is the second deployment for the couple since they've been married.

"I had to put a block on my emotions otherwise I'd spend all my time crying," said the mother of two. "I have to stay busy and surround myself with good family and friends."

Jessie is one of several wives who plan to leave the state to stay with family during the deployment. Jessie, along with 3-year-old Cash and 2-year-old Embry, are headed to Blacksburg, Va., to stay with Scott's parents.

Sarah Hoyt, the company's family readiness group leader, said the close-knit FRG is already making plans to stay in touch with traveling families.

To keep them in the loop with what's happening with Soldiers downrange, Hoyt is putting together monthly newsletters to e-mail.

Hoyt has been on both sides of deployment - as a Soldier, and as the wife of a deployed Soldier. However, she says this will be the first time she and her two children will remain home instead of traveling to live closer to family during the deployment.

Hoyt, the wife of Staff Sgt. Daniel Hoyt, said it's vital for spouses to make a goal for themselves and work toward it while their Soldier is away.

"Go back to school, learn something new, go to the gym and lose the last ten pounds of pregnancy," said Hoyt, who shared her goal of saving money for a dream vacation. "Find something to keep yourself busy so you're not focused so much on 'oh my goodness, I miss my husband.'"

The 497th MCC will fall under the 313th Movement Control Battalion, which oversees traffic management, movement of vehicles, vessels and planes, and synchronizes equipment and personnel transportation.

The company's heavy equipment transport platoon remains at Fort Benning awaiting a mid-summer deployment to Kuwait to help with the drawdown in Iraq.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16