FORT BUCHANAN, Puerto Rico - A small detachment of soldiers assigned to the 1st Mission Support Command, U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico, departed the Caribbean island Oct. 18 on their way to a mobilization station in Texas with Afghanistan as their final destiny.

Once in the Islamic Republic, the troops will be demilitarizing and processing thousands of pieces of military equipment, as part of the retrograde operations in Afghanistan.

"Always remember that you represent our command and the Army Reserve. Always be proud of your organization. I am confident you will do an excellent job," said Col. Jose Burgos, 1st Mission Support Command, commanding general.

This mobilization of troops is part of the strategic alliance between the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico and the Defense Logistic Agency.

"It is an honor to serve in the Army Reserve. Also, this deployment will serve as an experience to help me grow professionally," said Spc. Norberto Erazo-Calderon, a Toa Alta, Puerto Rico native, who is deploying to Afghanistan for the first time in his military career.

Spc. Michelle Alvarado, the only female in the group, expressed her confidence about the benefits of this deployment.

"This deployment will definitely help my career and will benefit me as a person as well," said Alvarado.

Spc. Delimiro Casanas de Jesus, a native from the city of Florida, Puerto Rico, and who has been deployed to Iraq twice, said that the most difficult factor during a mobilization is the family separation.

"My mother reacts as a mother, but she knows I am participating in this deployment in order to continue progressing," said Casanas.

In preparation for this mission, the U.S. soldiers from Puerto Rico recently participated in the Expeditionary Disposal Remediation Team training at Battle Creek, Mich.

This is the seventh detachment from the U.S. Army Reserve that is deployed from Puerto Rico to Afghanistan this year.

Currently, there are approximately 250 soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico serving in Afghanistan and other countries around the world.