GLENVILLE, NY-"We are honored to be in your company," Maj. Robert Mitchell, commander of the 501st Explosive Ordnance Disposal Battalion, told 15 Soldiers assigned to the New York Army National Guards 1108th Ordnance Company (EOD) during a departure ceremony held at the e Armed Forces Reserve Center in, Glenville, NY, December 8, 2009.
The company, trained to deal with improvised explosive devices, discarded munitions, and other explosives, will train at Fort Lewis, Washington before deploying to Iraq early in 2010.
"It's a chance to do the job we were trained to do," said 1st Lt. Jeffrey Fiorito, commander, 1108th EOD Company, and a resident of Warwick, Rhode Island. "We were trained in the full spectrum of operations," he added.
"Our training has definitely prepared us for this deployment," Fiorito emphasized. The 1108th has trained for about a year for the deployment in tasks ranging from explosive ordnance disposal to chemical operations, he said.
The company also completed the Global Anti-terrorism Operational Readiness Course, as well as several Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms courses providing the Soldiers with current trends in the theaters of operation they will be supporting.
Brig. General Michael Swezey, the commander of the 53rd Troop Command, charged the Soldiers with taking care of each other and trust their extensive training. He also assured the Soldiers that the New York Army National Guard would look out for the welfare of their families while they are deployed.
The state headquarters has created a first rate program to help families of deployed Soldiers, he emphasized.
The 1108th EOD Company was organized in September 2005 from Soldiers of the inactivating 1st Battalion, 105th Infantry Regiment, New York Army National Guard, formerly stationed at the New York State Armory in Schenectady.
Since its inception, the 1108th has supported such real world operations as the opening of the UN General Assembly in New York City, and ordnance disposal at Camp Smith Training Area in 2009.
The company will be rounded out with additional Soldiers from other units prior to heading for Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in January 2010.