By Sgt. Ricardo Branch, 8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs OfficeJune 9, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii (June 4, 2009) - The Soldiers of the 130th Engineer Brigade bid farewell to their island home during a deployment ceremony on Hamilton Field here June 4.
For the second time in a three year span, the Engineer Soldiers are answering their nation\'s call with a deployment to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
"Just a short 12-months ago, the 130th Engineer Brigade colors arrived from Germany, that was all that physically existed of this brigade a year ago," said Maj. Gen. Raymond V. Mason, commanding general, 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
He said that in a the span of a year, the Soldiers rallied together and made their unit fully mission capable during various exercises here and at Fort Hood during the unit's preparation for deployment.
"Over the past year, the troops on the field before you built this unit from the ground up," Mason remarked. "I'm proud of the leadership of this brigade and they have the right team and Soldiers trained to execute their mission in Iraq."
One hundred and fifty members of the 130th Eng. Bde., deploy to northern Iraq during the next few weeks to help train the fledgling Iraqi Engineer Corps, draft topography maps and help rebuild infrastructure in the war-torn country.
Lt. Col. Charles Klinge, deputy commander, 130th Eng. Bde., said their mission will be tough but he's positive that the unit is prepared to handle the job.
"In the short time from when we stood up, to standing here on this field, we've prepared for this," he said. "I'm very confident in the Soldiers here, as well as the training we received. We have a certain specialty that no is more suited to do and we're answering that call today."
The 130th Eng. Bde. will join their two battalions, the 65th and the 84th Engineers, downrange when they arrive in northern Iraq later this month. During the ceremony, 130th Eng. Bde. commander Col. Fabian E. Mendoza broke away from military tradition during his formal remarks, took the field with his Soldiers, and asked the families to join him.
"This deployment is a total team effort," Mendoza said. "The real heroes are the families."
On the field, everyone held hands and pledged support to each other to help ease the stresses associated with a long deployment.
"The spouses of the Soldiers left behind are going to do many things that their loved ones down range will be doing," Mendoza said. "This union of faith and hope will make everything easier and help us all overcome this separation."