By Wendy ArevaloJune 20, 2019
FORT KNOX-Ky. For Master Sgt. Edgar Zavala, deploying is part of the job. But this deployment was a little different, as when he left he had a five-month-old daughter, when he returned she was already a year old.
"I missed her walking, talking, a lot of critical milestones," Zavala said.
Now that he's back, Zavala said he looks forward to spending time with his wife, Helen, and the rest of his family.
Zavala is just one of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command (TSC) Soldiers who returned home to a redeployment ceremony at the Sadowski Center June 19. The majority of the Soldiers who deployed are part of the Strategic Operations and Planning (SOaP) Red Team.
Lt. Col. Robyn Deatherage, strategic plans chief for the SOaP, said that while in Kuwait, the team conducted strategic planning to support a number of theater operations.
Deatherage added that the team also "supported a number of subject matter expert exchanges as well as key leader engagements conducted by the CG [Commanding General] to further strengthen U. S. relationships with its Middle East partners."
Natoshya Reed was at the ceremony to welcome back her husband, Staff Sgt. Danny Reed. While her husband was deployed, Natoshya Reed kept busy homeschooling her three children and serving as treasurer of 1st TSC's Soldier Family Readiness Program.
She said she is looking forward to having family time and an extra set of hands.
"Just the extra help with bath time, bed time; those extra hands are a major help," Natoshya Reed said.
Although many Soldiers and spouses are used to deployments, this was the first for some. For Spc. Ernesto Vasquez, going on a deployment was a good way to hone his skills.
"What I've learned from over there improved me for the better, for the future," Vasquez said. "It opened my mind a lot, made me understand more things about working for the Army."
Pfc. Zakkary Whitelock said he learned a lot on his first deployment as well. Whitelock served as the sole communication support on the U.S. Army Logistics Support Vessel (LSV 5). He was in charge of handling all the radios including making needed repairs to the equipment.
"It was exactly what I needed, it boosted my morale," Whitelock added.
Deatherage said she was pleased with all the accomplishments of her team.
"The Red Team did a tremendous job with supporting the CG's efforts to build partner nation relations, support sustainment requirements and set the theater for continued operations," Deatherage said. "Their efforts will ensure the right support to theater forces, not only for U.S. military forces, but also for coalition and partner nation forces as well."
Deatherage, who just completed her fourth deployment, said she looks forward to spending time with family members, getting some sleep and preparing for her next duty station.
Soldiers who work for SOaP are assigned to one of three teams, red, white or blue. The teams rotate deployments every six months to the U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility overseas.
Since 2006, 1st TSC has been deploying continuously to the 20-country, six-million-square mile area where it conducts sustainment operations to ensure the warfighter has the supplies and transportation capabilities they need to accomplish their mission.