BOTHELL, Wash. - Surrounded by local dignitaries and high-ranking officers, ten members of the 909th Human Resources Company, a U.S. Army Reserve unit headquartered here, were mobilized for duty in Afghanistan during a ceremony on July 16.

Del Spivey, a Bothell city council member and fireman, said his profession shared much with the soldiers'.

"It's a calling," he said. "You are here today because you felt called to serve."

Spivey emphasized the sacrifices made by the soldiers and their families, noting that both will have to make adjustments during their year-long separation.

"Just as you have to sacrifice to do your jobs," he said, "they will be making sacrifices at home to you can perform your mission."

The soldiers, all from the 909th's plans and operations section, will run Army post offices during their time overseas. They are capable of offering a full range of postal services, from ordinary mail, shipping registered items, money orders, and coordinating mail transportation.

"The Soldiers you see here today are shining examples of the Warrior Citizens that have sustained our nation in times of conflict since 1775," said Col. Martin Spann, operations officer for the 311th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, the 909th's higher headquarters. "The unit will be responsible for literally millions of pieces of mail. As a soldier who has been deployed, I don't have to tell you how important that link to home is for our warfighters who are downrange, serving at the tip of the spear."

For some of the soldiers, this will be their first deployment; for others, their second or third, said 1st Lt. Dean Buchanan, the section's officer in charge.

"We're ready to go," Buchanan said. "We've gone through a lot to get here, and we're ready to do our mission."

The 909th soldiers will go through additional training at Fort Dix, N.J., before heading to Afghanistan. Their deployment is expected to last a year.

Capt. Christopher Larsen is the public affairs officer for the 364th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, Seattle.