CAMP HOHENFELS, Germany - Soldiers with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, partnered with the California National Guard's 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at Camp Hohenfels, Germany, Feb. 25, 2018, to conduct riot training in preparation for their deployment to Kosovo.
About 200 Soldiers assigned to 3rd Sqdn., 61st Cav. Reg., 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, gathered a week earlier to bid farewell to their Families and friends at Fort Carson.
During the deployment, Soldiers will be working alongside North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces conducting security operations and engaging with the local populace, said Capt. Paul E. Patino, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 3rd Sqdn., 61st Cav. Reg.
"These Soldiers have trained hard for the past four months and we have seen them grow exponentially through field training exercises and during (Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana)," Patino said. "They did an outstanding job ... from developing security plans to establishing a (tactical operations center), and there is no doubt they will take those skills into our deployment."
Patino said one of this troop's main tasks during the deployment will be building relationships with the local population through liaison monitoring teams (LMT).
Sgt. David O. Perez, a combat medic, said he is excited to deploy as an LMT member and have the opportunity to learn more about the country and its people.
"This will be my second time deploying to Kosovo, but my first time being part of a liaison monitoring team," said Perez. "My team and I will be basically interacting with social leaders in the area and supporting the communities in any way we can."
Perez said he is not looking forward to leaving his wife and 2-year-old son behind.
"During my last deployment I was single and eager to deploy but this time around seeing the look on my son's face as I said goodbye was extremely difficult to process," said Perez.
Like Perez, Patino agrees that Family is an important aspect of deployments.
"Families and friends are the ones who support our Soldiers during good and bad times, and it's important for us, as a unit, to show the Families that we are a team and the importance of the role they play," said Patino. "I think with that support system in place before leaving for 10 months both Soldiers and Families feel more at peace with being apart."
Patino, who has been in command for nine months, said he is proud of all the hard work his Soldiers have put into the training leading up to the deployment.
"These Soldiers are not the same people they were when I first took command, they have truly grown," he said. "I have the utmost confidence in them and know that they will do great during this deployment."