Bastogne begins its next rendezvous with destiny
November 1, 2012
For the Soldiers of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, having support from their Families is the motivation need to succeed in their next deployment.
"They're anxious for me to get back safely," said Spc. Daniel L. Mendoza, a fire direction center operator with Battery A, 2nd Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 1st BCT. "They keep telling me to take care of myself and try to come back in one piece."
Mendoza stated this will be his first deployment, and that he is looking forward to it but is also really anxious about it.
Maj. Scott Sentell, the brigade executive officer, said talking with your Family about the deployment makes it easier for both them and the Soldier.
"I think it's important up front to have these discussions before the day you deploy with your Family," said Sentell. "That allows everyone to prepare for the actual day you deploy.
"So if you get together as a Family the days and the weeks prior to your actual deployment date, and talk through the deployment, it makes it a lot easier than trying say all your goodbyes on the last day," Sentell added.
The flight began with the Soldiers and their Families meeting at their unit's area of operations, allowing them to spend time together and have their bags loaded into the baggage trucks.
Once it was time to move out, the Soldiers said their goodbyes and climbed onto the busses where they were taken to the terminal.
There, the Soldiers were treated to food provided by the terminal's dining facility before forming up for a speech given by Maj. Gen. James McConville, the division commanding general. After some words of encouragement from the CG, the Soldiers boarded the airplane to begin their next rendezvous with destiny.
There were 224 Soldiers on this flight, each of the representing the brigade's advance party teams.
The advance part teams consisted of Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st BCT; 1st Special Troops Battalion; 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment; 426th Brigade support Battalion; 2nd Bn., 320th FAR.
"The main purpose of the advance party, or ADVON as we call it, is to do just that," said Sentell. "It's to get the right group of people in place so when the remainder of the brigade starts to deploy and come in, we're better prepared to receive the rest of the brigade, and then we can start doing right-seat and left-seat with our counterparts."
Sentell stated that the brigade was restructured so it could operate as a security force assistance brigade, which will allow it to train the Afghan National Security Forces.
"So we are organized within the brigade to take on that mission as one of our primary missions," said Sentell. "So I think the biggest thing that we'll be responsible for is getting the ANSF, to include the army, the police and the border patrol; better prepared to assume a lot of the responsibility on their own."
Sentell restated that it's the support from home that makes deployments easier for all affected by them.
"I know for the Soldiers leaving today, the Families play a large role in getting the Soldiers to where we are today," said Sentell. "We've trained really hard over the last 18 months to get where we are now, and the Families play a large role in that. So as we step onto the plane today a lot of the thanks go to the Families as well."