FORT GORDON, Ga.-Approximately 120 Soldiers of the 518th Tactical Installation and Networking Company departed Fort Gordon, Georgia, May 8, 2016 to begin a 9-month deployment to Southwest Asia in support of U.S. Central Command operations.
The Soldiers were given a formal farewell in a ceremony at the Cyber Fitness Center, May 6, 2016.
"These Soldiers are well-led, supremely trained and ready, proficient in the most technical tasks we could ask of them on the battlefield, highly committed to the mission, the Army profession and each other and incredibly motivated," said Col. Charles P. Daly, brigade commander, 35th Signal Brigade (Theater Tactical) at the ceremony.
Soldiers of 518th TIN Co., a unit with 67th Signal Battalion (Expeditionary), 35th Signal Brigade (Theater Tactical), will provide global communications transportation infrastructure to support U.S. troops and coalition partners operating within CENTCOM in Southwest Asia.
"I feel extremely proud about this mission," said Capt. Natasha Fultz the company commander in charge of the 518th TIN Co. "I just want us to get there, do our job and perform satisfactorily and return home safely to our families."
In the months leading up to the deployment the Soldiers dedicated their time to training that would refresh the skills needed to be successful in any and all environments and missions that they may face.
"I think I'm prepared, but you can never be too prepared," said Spc. Gregory Swars II, human resources specialist, 518th TIN Co. "There is still a lot that I can learn from this deployment. I want to improve myself and I think this is one of the best ways."
Many of the deploying Soldiers will be responsible for laying and maintaining the cable and wires that enable the systems that CENTCOM forces use to communicate orders, commands and information that facilitate operational success.
"I'm glad to be a part of this mission," said Staff Sgt. Joseph Leonguerrero, a cable systems installer and maintainer, 518th TIN Co. "I'm excited, but the hardest part is saying goodbye to our families and not to be able to see them for the 9-months that we are gone, but they are our number one supporters."
Many of the deploying Soldiers are mothers like Sgt. Francine Porter, a cable systems installer and maintainer, who said her departure symbolized to her the commitment, sacrifice and responsibility that military mothers go through to care for their children.
"I think my daughter looks at me as a role model and when it comes to me leaving she knows I'm doing it for her," Porter said about saying goodbye. "Walking out the door and seeing her face was definitely the hardest but knowing that she's taken good care of is really all that I want."
The 518th TIN Co. will support the missions of U.S. CENTCOM forces and partner nations in the region which are focused to sustain and support a commitment to security and stability.
"On this deployment, they'll rely on each other and the unique talents and training that every single one of them brings to the fight. They will undoubtedly succeed as a team," said Daly.