FORT HOOD, Texas - Approximately 50 soldiers from the 13th Sustainment Command deployed Jan. 16 to the Sinai Peninsula and will serve as the Headquarters and Headquarters Company for the 1st Support Battalion as part of the Multinational Force and Observer mission.
The soldiers will provide command, control, administration, and logistics support to the battalion as well as many services to the entire MFO. Among the services to be provided include a chaplain, U.S. military postal services, mortuary affairs services, and ammunition and explosive storage.
The MFO is an independent international organization, with peacekeeping responsibilities in the Sinai. The origins of the MFO lie in Annex I to the 1979 Treaty of Peace between Egypt and Israel. In 1981, the Treaty of Parties negotiated a Protocol that established the MFO and defined its mission.
The mission of the MFO is to supervise the implementation of the security provisions of the Egyptian-Israeli Treaty of Peace and employ best efforts to prevent any violations of its terms.
"This is an extremely unique mission," said Brig. Gen. Clark W. LeMasters, Jr., commanding general of the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), while addressing the soldiers at a deployment ceremony for the soldiers departing. "We received this mission late last summer and through the efforts of the 1st Cavalry Division, the 4th Sustainment Brigade and our headquarters, we built this unit and you all went off and trained yourselves for this mission."
"To the troops deploying, you're going over there to represent the United States Army and our nation as part of something that's been going on since 1979," continued LeMasters. "Uphold the standards and discipline that you have as soldiers. I'm not going to wish you good luck. Luck is for the untrained and unprepared, and you are neither one. Have a safe journey and we'll see you when you get back."
Although there is always a level of uncertainty with any mission, Lt. Col. Aaron Hardy, Jr., the commander of the 1st Support Battalion, said their mission should not be impacted heavily by hazardous conditions.
"Egypt is going through some situations right now, but it doesn't involve our mission with the MFO personnel," said Hardy. "It's internal and we're not involved with that, and we're not targets for anyone over there either so I think that put a lot of families at ease."