Mortuary Affairs Soldiers Deploy
Soldiers from the 54th Quartermaster Company, 240th QM Battalion, 49th QM Group, say goodbye to Family, friends and colleagues outside Clark Fitness Center after the deployment ceremony Jan. 6. Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Hall, 240th QM Bn. chaplain, passes out rapid deployment kits to the Soldiers.

It was the first deployment of 2008 for the 49th Quartermaster Group when about 60 mortuary affairs Soldiers from the 54th Quartermaster Company, 240th QM Battalion, departed Fort Lee Jan. 6.

Col. John Curran, 49th Quartermaster Group commander, and Lt. Col Peter Crean, 240th QM Bn. commander, promoted three Soldiers from Task Force 2-54 to the rank of specialist during the ceremony at Clark Fitness Center.

“We are extraordinarily proud of this company’s achievements, and we look forward to their return,” said Curran. “And although this is normally a somber occasion … it is a great day when we can promote three great Soldiers here as they are about to embark upon a mission they are uniquely qualified for.”

Chaplain (Capt.) Matthew Hall, 240th QM Bn. chaplain, gathered Soldiers, Family members and friends to the center of the gymnasium for a group prayer.

“We like to have the Family members stand with their Soldiers – which they can’t do when in formation – so that the Soldiers can receive a blessing before deployment, and that Family members are comforted as we ask a blessing from God,” said Hall.

Tearful goodbyes followed the Soldiers outside, as they received rapid deployment kits provided by the Army chaplaincy.

Hall said while the Soldiers are deployed, the unit ministry team will interact with Family members through worship services, Family readiness group meetings, counseling and company functions.

“The Family members have direct access to their chaplain by phone, in the office, or they can arrange for home visits,” said Hall. “We also provide for the Family’s spiritual needs by making sure they have access to religious materials regardless of their religious affiliation.”