FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- The mission of the 440th Blood Support Detachment is to provide collection, manufacturing, storage, and distribution of blood and products to division, corps, echelons above corps, medical units and to other operations.

Eleven Soldiers assigned to the 440th are more than prepared to do this mission as they deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

On March 29, Family, friends, and co-workers gathered at the Roadrunner Community Center to say farewell to these Soldiers during the deployment ceremony.

Lt. Col. Ronald Krogh, battalion commander, 61st Multifunctional Medical Battalion, Fort Hood, Texas, and guest speaker, said, "It is time for the 440th to go to Afghanistan to do the blood mission; a small group of people doing an incredibly important mission providing blood for an entire theater. Every Soldier, Sailor, Airmen, Marine that gets injured that needs blood; that blood is passed through these Soldiers\' hands."

Krogh said the 440th is capitalizing on new technology and replacing one of their units, the 932nd, that has been there for the last two rotations.

"We started out with only five Soldiers, then eight, but due to increased technology and new equipment we are now able to do platelet collection. We don't have to ship as much whole blood in theater since they are now able to collect it there and it saves time since blood is only good for five days."

"And they can also do frozen blood, so with the increased technology and new equipment we are able to source out more Soldiers. Now we are up to 11," said Krogh.

Krogh added these 11 Soldiers are trained, ready to deploy, and they will stay busy. "We are back here to support you and your family in the rear while you are forward doing your mission," concluded Krogh.

Spc. Jaime Barbosa, from El Paso, Texas, said he plans to stay busy while in theater, doing his job and taking courses online. "I hope to get promoted and be better prepared when I return."

"It is hard to leave when you have a Family, but I know my wife is in good hands and we will be seeing each other soon," said Barbosa.

The ceremony concluded with the singing of the Army Song performed by the Army Medical Command Band.

(Esther Garcia is with the Fort Sam Houston Public Affairs Office.)