902nd MI troops deploy, bid farewell to loved ones
July 21, 2011
By Tina Miles
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. - Soldiers and civilians of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group were accompanied by family and friends at a brief, private farewell deployment ceremony for members of Task Force Deuce on July 8 at McGill Training Center.
The 902nd MI Group was recently tasked to provide additional counterintelligence capabilities in support of Overseas Contingency Operations, which is one of the unit's primary mission areas. Task Force Deuce deployed to fill those requirements.
Historically, the 902nd MI Group's mission has included a global component, but the unit has only been called upon to deploy a task force one other time, in January 2004. The 902nd sent its first battalion-sized task force of military and civilian personnel to support Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"As they create a new chapter in the history of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, the personnel of Task Force Deuce represent the best of counterintelligence and human intelligence support to Overseas Contingency Operations," said Col. Andrea Thompson, commander, 902nd MI Group, as she addressed the audience regarding the Task Force's mission to provide intelligence to protect our forces. "I assure you they [Task Force Deuce] are not going to fail."
These Soldiers and civilians from all subordinate elements within the 902nd stand ready to provide the same top-notch intelligence support to the regional commanders supporting overseas contingency operations as they do for the Army Service Component Commanders worldwide.
Thompson also spoke of how proud she was of them and their families.
"With the amount of time we had to prepare, the importance of having trained on the fundamentals is a testimony to the strength of the group, and we also have amazing Deuce families," Thompson said, "I look out and see such a wide range of family members - from very young, to well seasoned - all very strong. We cannot accomplish our mission without their love and support."
The group's command sergeant major reiterated Thompson's sentiment and stressed the importance of safety and vigilance to the task force.
"What can I tell you other than I wish I was going with you," Command Sgt. Maj. Walid Gabr said. "Be aware of your surroundings, go down safe, come back safe and watch out for your buddies."
Speaking directly to family members, Gabr reassured them they are not alone.
"Whatever you need, we are here to reach out to," he said. "You simply have to pick up the phone."
After the informal speeches, 902nd Chaplain (Maj.) Grace Hollis-Taylor blessed the troops as she closed in prayer. Members of the task force then socialized with their families, friends and co-workers.
"This task force is going to take the counterintelligence fundamentals and go back to CI-101 and defeat the enemy," said Sgt. Maj. Scott Grovatt, Army Operational Security Detachment.
Others in the crowd also expressed their pride and faith in the task force.
"They have honed their skill sets and are well seasoned tactically," said Lt. Col. Bruce Johnson, commander, AOSD. "They are prepared for the mission."