More than 50 mortuary affairs Soldiers deployed Jan. 18 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
This was the second deployment for the 111th Quartermaster Company since the unit realigned within the 530th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 49th QM Group, and the Soldiers will relieve the first group that left in July 2006.
When Lt. Col. Robert Horneck addressed the Soldiers at Clark Fitness Center, he acknowledged the diverse support in front of their formation.
The gymnasium was packed not only with colleagues and friends from the 49th
QM Group, family members and command, but also a large contingent of supporters from throughout the post, including the Quartermaster Center and School.
Horneck, the 530th CSS Bn. commander, also recognized the group of veterans from the Hopewell Chapter of American Legion, Post 126, who came to talk with the departing Soldiers and their families. The Legion members organized a special dinner for the 111th a week prior to the deployment in honor of their dedication and sacrifice to the nation.
Horneck also reassured the Soldiers that family support will be a priority as they go downrange.
The message was emphasized when the commander brought out the support chain in front of the audience, to include Capt. Erica White, 111th QM Co. commander, 1st Sgt. Johnny Robertson, 111th QM Co. first sergeant, and Command Sgt. Maj. Jeremy French, 530th CSSB command sergeant major.
The 49th QM Group Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Jayme Sutton has been to dozens of deployment and redeployment ceremonies since the events of 9/11 have called troops into service.
She said the one thing she hasn’t seen change in all that time has been the unwavering commitment of Soldiers when called upon to do their duty.
Despite the tears and sorrow felt upon departure, they leave mission-ready and focused, she said.
“I want you to remember the collective goodness of the American fighting force, which is you, that goes out and makes it happen is represented here today,” said Sutton. “And I hope you remember – when the days grow long – all the support, encouragement and expectations that we all have here for you in accomplishing your mission and come home safe.”