National Guard finance Soldiers get farewell sendoff

Written by  //  June 5, 2012  //  Feature Stories

Florida Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Hosford (second from right) and Florida National Guard leaders present a Florida State Flag to members of the 2153rd Financial Management Detachment (FMD), on June 3, 2012. Hosford presented the flag so it could be flown with pride over the unit's headquarters during the 2153rd FMD's deployment to Southwest Asia as a representation of the people of the state of Florida. Pictured are: Sgt. 1st Class Gerald Shugart, 2153rd Financial Management Detachment (FMD) NCO-IC, (left); Maj. Gen. James Tyre, Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida Army National Guard; Capt. Enrique Martinez, Commander of the 2153rd FMD, Command Sgt. Maj. Robert M. Hosford, Florida Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major; and Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr, 50th Regional Support Group Commander. Photo by Spc. N. Bobby Ballard

By Spc. N. Bobby Ballard and Pfc. Lindsey Jones
107th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. (June 5, 2012) — Families and friends gathered at the Mark W. Lance Armory in St. Augustine, Fla., June 3, for a departure ceremony and farewell to nearly 30 Soldiers of the 2153rd Financial Management Detachment (FMD).

The unit is preparing to deploy overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The 2153rd FMD is deploying in order to provide financial management support to U.S. Central Command troop elements in Kuwait and Qatar.  Having trained extensively for one year in preparation for the deployment, the leaders and Soldiers of the 2153rd FMD are eagerly looking forward to the coming mission.

“The young Soldiers are definitely excited and they’re looking forward to the deployment,” said Capt. Enrique Martinez, commander of the 2153rd FMD.

Martinez said most of the credit for preparing the Soldiers of the 2153rd FMD goes to his staff of seasoned non-commissioned officers.

Soldiers of the 2153rd Financial Management Detachment look on as Maj. Gen. James D. Tyre, the Assistant Adjutant General for the Florida National Guard, reinforces the Florida National Guard's commitment to its Soldiers and their Families at the deployment ceremony held June 3, in honor of the 2153rd, that will be deploying to Qatar and Kuwait. Photo by Pfc. Lindsey E. Jones

“They (the Soldiers) have been well trained and have retained their training,” said Martinez.  “We will accomplish the mission and will do it at a high standard.”

The Soldiers pre-deployment training culminated with an Improved Explosive Device Defeat Lane exercise at Camp Blanding, Fla., with the Soldiers applying and executing battle drills such as react to contact, react to indirect fire, and practicing medical evacuation procedures.

Martinez said his goals for the coming deployment are to bring all his Soldiers home safely and accomplish the finance mission while achieving and exceeding a 95 percent financial transactions accuracy rate.

For Spc. Renicka Wilkerson Cole, from Jacksonville, this is her second deployment to the Middle-East.

“I’m looking forward to a chance at a do-over,” Wilkerson Cole said, noting she is excited about the opportunity to improve on her previous performance, as she feels much more prepared for the challenging environment that deployments can create.

Due to the thorough training throughout the deployment process, Wilkerson Cole said she has no apprehensions about this deployment.

“The level of training we receive makes the transition from a training environment into the deployment environment much easier,” she added. “We have a great group of people that we are going over with and I feel like we will excel at our mission.”

With many of the 2153rd FMD’s family members in attendance, Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr, 50th Regional Support Group commander, took the opportunity to testify to the Florida National Guard’s commitment to Soldiers’ families.

“I know it’s not going to be easy without your Soldier present at home, but rest assured, that the Guard family will be here for you,” said Col. Gonzalez-Kerr.  “You will have the support from the entire chain of command.”

Gonzalez-Kerr noted that the family assistance centers and family readiness staff are available to all Florida Guard Soldiers families in case of difficulties while their loved ones are away.

Gonzalez-Kerr also thanked those in attendance while urging everyone to keep Florida’s deployed Soldiers in their thoughts and prayers.

“These Soldiers will continue in their path of success only with your unyielding support,” she said.

The Soldiers of the 2153rd FMD will be leaving this week to Fort Dix, N.J., for additional training.