Family, friends gather to send off Camp Blanding Soldiers
STARKE, Fla. (May 18, 2012) – Family and friends of Soldiers from the Florida National Guard’s 221st Ordnance Detachment gathered to say farewell, May 18, 2012, as the unit prepares to deploy overseas.
After completing additional training at Fort Bliss, Texas, the unit will deploy as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) contingency force working in the Central Command area of operations. The unit has already spent the past several months preparing and training for this mission.
“The deployment clock for the 221st really started yesterday,” said Maj. Gen. Don Tyre, Commander of the Florida Army National Guard. “But preparations for this mission began many, many months ago. The Soldiers that stand before you today are ready. They have spent a tremendous amount of time in the classroom reviewing tactics, techniques and procedures; days in the field perfecting their battle drills and individual skills…that time is absolutely essential, very important and time that was well-spent.”
All of the leaders present acknowledged specifically the sacrifices the families will make while the Soldiers are away.
“With this deployment, you are also answering our call to duty,” said Capt. Shaun Machaffie, Commander of the 221st. “The hardships of being on deployment are mirrored ten-fold by the families we leave behind… we are proud to call you our family.”
The 221st previously deployed to Kuwait in 1991 in support of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm; Bosnia in 2003 as part of the Stabilization Force (SFOR) and Iraq in 2006 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
While deployed, the 221st will have all EOD responsibility for Army personnel and property in Kuwait and will serve as the single source for the explosive demilitarization of ordnance and small arms returned from Afghanistan and Iraq.