FORT IRWIN, Calif.- The 2nd Heavy Transportation Company is on its way to a one-year tour in support of the war in Iraq after deploying to Kuwait on Sept. 22, 2009.
The company-size unit from the Combat Support Sustainment Battalion under 916th Support Brigade, received best wishes from the Fort Irwin community at a public ceremony that Tuesday afternoon. Later that evening, the departing Soldiers assembled at Ingall's Recreation Center to get weighed and say goodbye before being transported to an airplane at the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, Calif. Soldiers, families and friends embraced each other during those emotional farewells.
Amber Wells, wife of Pvt. Gordon Wells, said it will be hard while he's away, but she plans on staying occupied and relying on a network of support that includes friends and the unit Family Readiness Group.
"Staying busy will help keep me from worrying," Mrs. Wells said. "The FRG will tell me what's going on. They will also be someone to talk to." prepare
Pvt. Wells, a truck driver for the 2nd HET, held his 13-month son Gordon Jr., as his wife hugged him. He said he knows his family will be all right.
"They'll have plenty of support," Pvt. Wells said. "The FRG is really good. Knowing that everyone is here for them - it's really comforting."
The unit rear detachment and the FRG can provide the best information about the deployed unit, but additional resources exist as well. Lori Jansen, wife of Staff Sgt. John Jansen, mentioned other benefits that families can use.
"I'll take advantage of getting information from the proper channels such as the FRG," Mrs. Jansen said. "If I need any other help, I can go to the Wellness Center here. Army Community Center is always very helpful. The ladies at ACS are great. The chapel is availbale. There are so many resources on the post to help spouses when their husbands deploy."
Before going on his second deployment, Staff Sgt. Jansen, an air conditioning and heating specialist, recorded a book on video for his daughter. The video is intended to help Maggie, who is 20 months, and 7-year-old Joshua remember dad while he is away, said Staff Sgt. Jansen.
"While I'm gone, my wife just plays the video on TV and they get to have 'daddy' time," Staff Sgt. Jansen said.
Staff Sgt. Jansen and the rest of the 2nd HET will be conducting retrograde operations into Iraq from Kuwait. The unit will be traveling the length of Iraq bringing back equipment to Kuwait and will also be delivering needed equipment into the area of operations, said Capt. Jason Johnson.
Before deploying, his unit spent months preparing, said Capt. Johnson. Soldiers trained on individual tasks, going to ranges, performing warrior tasks, and conducted combat life saver training.
"We brought that together and performed collective tasks," Capt. Johnson said. "We did a company field training exercise and conducted a mission readiness exercise with one of the rotating units in July."
Training has prepared the unit for a year-long, real-world mission in support of the war on terror. A year may seem long, but Soldiers must not get complacent, said CSSB Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Seymour. He offered this advice to Soldiers:
"Pay attention to detail and don't get complacent. Do your job and everything will fall into place. The one year goes quick, once you stay busy."