Immokalee Quartermaster unit deploys to Afghanistan

Written by  //  August 1, 2012  //  Feature Stories

Soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard's 856th Quartermaster Support Company stand in formation during a deployment ceremony at the Seminole Casino Event Pavilion in Immokalee, Fla., July 30, 2012. Forty Soldiers from the unit were preparing for a year-long deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

IMMOKALEE, Fla. (Aug. 1, 2012) — Forty Soldiers from the Florida Army National Guard’s 856th Quartermaster Support Company are headed to Afghanistan, as they became the next group of Florida’s citizen-Soldiers to support Operation Enduring Freedom.

The Soldiers were honored during a deployment ceremony this week in Immokalee, where friends, family, local dignitaries and military leaders showed their support for the deploying unit.

Florida National Guard leaders persent the State of Florida flag to the 856th Quartermaster Support Company during a deployment ceremony for the unit at the Seminole Casino in Immokalee, Fla., July 30, 2012. Pictured are: 50th Regional Support Group Commander Col. Valeria Gonzalez-Kerr; 856th 1st Sgt. Roy Cabalo; Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw Jr.; 856th Commander Capt. Justo Garcia; and State Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Hosford. Photo by Master Sgt. Thomas Kielbasa

“We cherish your sacrifice, as you serve this nation just as we do,” Adjutant General of Florida Maj. Gen. Emmett Titshaw Jr. told the deploying Soldiers. “…We thank you for answering your nation’s call. You will go forth now and accomplish your mission. You are trained and you are ready.  And we have the utmost trust and confidence that you will have mission-success.”

The 856th Quartermaster Support Company is scheduled to provide logistical support to the Marine Expeditionary and Coalition Forces in Afghanistan. This will include providing the units with food, water, supplies, and fuel for their missions.

1st Sgt. Roy Cabalo noted that his unit’s logistical mission is extremely important for coalition forces in Afghanistan, where access to supplies can make or break a military operation.

“In the realm of overall success for ourselves, our troops and our country, it takes more than just the Infantry or the Field Artillery; it takes everyone working together to produce success,” Cabalo said. “Our piece of that puzzle is making sure that everyone has what they need to be successful.”

Cabalo said he views the 856th as a tight-knit family where the younger or more inexperienced Soldiers will rely on the veterans during the early months of the mission.

“I’m the father of the unit, so to speak,” he said. “I’m going to give (the Soldiers) the benefit of my experience, my years overseas, and my time in the service.”

During the ceremony, unit Commander Capt. Justo Garcia assured the families and the Soldiers that the 856th is ready for the lengthy mission of Southwest Asia.

 “The Soldiers that stand in front of you have worked tirelessly this last year, and today – though bittersweet – should be a day we celebrate those accomplishments,” Garcia said. “You are ready; rely on your training and each other, and you will return home safely.”

The 856th Quartermaster Support Company will first travel to Fort Dix, N.J., for additional training before heading overseas.