Members of the Oregon Army National Guard’s Detachment 1, Bravo Co., 168 Aviation, conducted a mobilization ceremony June 5, at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 in Pendleton, Ore. Seventy-three Soldiers from the unit will soon depart for training at Fort Hood, Texas, before continuing on to Afghanistan for 10 months. The Soldiers will transport personnel and equipment throughout the country in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy, Oregon Military Department Public Affairs).
Story by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
PENDLETON, Ore. –Soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard’s Detachment 1, Bravo Company, 168 Aviation, participated in a mobilization ceremony, at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2, June 5.
Seventy-three Soldiers from the unit will soon depart for pre-mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, before continuing on to Afghanistan for the 10-month deployment.
They will team up with 64 Soldiers from the Washington Army National Guard, and fall under the command of the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry Division. The unit will provide combat mission support in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
More than 200 community and family members attended the ceremony, which was followed by a free barbeque hosted by the Community Christian Church.
“We will be providing combat support in Afghanistan,” said Capt. John Hoffman, Commander of Det. 1. “ Our mission will alleviate a lot of pressure on the ground units to transport personnel and equipment where there are few roads.”
The 90-minute ceremony was attended by Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski; Maj. Gen. Raymond F. Rees, The Adjutant General, Oregon; Mayor Phillip Houk, Pendleton City Mayor; Col. Stephen Beach, Deputy Commander, 82 Brigade, Oregon Army National Guard; and Mr. Larry Deibert, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army.
Each speaker emphasized their support of the Soldiers and their families, highlighting the financial and emotion burden each family may face during the deployment. They also reminded the group to keep their motivation high and to help each other during their tour.
“We have a young group of guys, although they all have an encouraging and positive attitude,” Hoffman said. “I am sure this deployment is scarier for the new guys, not knowing what to expect when we get over there.”
This is the second deployment for many of the Soldiers, with many having had tours in January 2005, for Operation Enduring Freedom VI.
“I’ve had the opportunity to do this [ceremony] and the one in 2005 and I know Soldiers and family with both deployments,” said Mayor Houk. “It is very emotional for the Soldiers to be leaving their community and loved ones.”
During his speech, Houk reminded the Soldiers about the importance of family, and encouraged them to remain in close contact with loved ones. He also said the city of Pendleton is very proud of their citizen-Soldiers.
“I am very proud of the work Pendleton has done with the National Guard,” he said. “We are looking forward to having them home as soon as possible.”
For more photos from the ceremony, visit our Flickr page, here.
Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager