More than 50 Soldiers who deployed six months ago from the 111th Quartermaster Company, 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, returned home Feb. 12.
The mortuary affairs Soldiers completed their mission in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
“I thank the Soldiers for a job well done, for watching out for each other and for bringing home everyone safely,” said Lt. Col. Jayme Sutton, 49th QM Group deputy commander.
Lt. Col. Robert Horneck, 530th CSS Bn. commander, reminded everyone present that these Soldiers were the link for fallen Soldiers to their families back home.
“I can’t express to you how important it is what these Soldiers do,” Horneck said, “they have the tremendous work and task of processing the remains of loved ones, America’s sons and daughters. They make sure that when that loved one returns back home, he will return home dignified.”
Soldiers of the 111th QM Co. were spread throughout various collection points throughout the theater of operations.
“The Soldiers performed outstanding, you couldn’t ask for more,” said Staff Sgt. William Carson, 111th QM Co. “They performed in some of the harshest conditions. There were a lot of Soldiers who were deploying for the first time, and they did well. They knew their job and the importance of their mission, and they made it happen.”
The deployment was the third for Carson.
“It doesn’t get easier, you just prepare better for it as far as training,” he said. “We learn a lot of new things every time we go.”
For Spc. Aden Sorge, 111th QM Co., doing mortuary affairs for the Army was a different experience than what he was used to as a civilian.
“The things you do and the things you see on either side are totally different and unrelated,” Sorge said. He studied at the Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science in Pennsylvania and served as funeral director and embalmer at his family-owned funeral home.
“My previous experience pre-conditioned me to see certain things and I was able to deal with it a lot better, but there were a lot of things that I totally did not expect,” he said.
Sorge was assigned to a collection point at Camp Anaconda, Iraq. He said he will use the experience he gained to improve company training and prepare himself for the next deployment.
“I love what I do, I’d go back tomorrow if they asked me to, mortuary science will always be my career of choice,” Sorge said.
His wife, Katie Murtagh, said the separation was hard, but they kept in contact through e-mail, phone and care packages.
“We talked several times a week,” Murtagh said, “that made the separation easier.”