News: Task Force Vigilante bids farewell to 993rd, welcomes 1710th Transportation Co to Afghanistan
Story by Sgt. Tanjie Patterson
KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan—U.S. Army Reserve soldiers with the 993rd Transportation Company watched as their unit colors were cased, June 9, signifying the completion of their combat tour and the beginning of their homeward journey to Palatka, Fla. A transfer of authority ceremony at Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, was held to bid farewell to the “Road Warriors” and welcome in Virginia Guardsmen assigned to the 1710th Transportation Company.
“The 993rd raised the bar in all aspects of the deployment, becoming the model company for the other transportation companies to emulate,” said Lt. Col. Don Gillespie, commander of the 495th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion-Task Force Vigilante, who presided over the ceremony. “These outstanding achievements are no small feat and illustrate the 993rd’s work ethic and adherence to our Army’s values.”
Over the past nine months the “Road Warriors” were responsible for multiple missions — including organizing a forward logistics element that completed approximately 20 retrograde operations in the Uruzgan province. Soldiers with the transportation company were also responsible for inspecting thousands of vehicles at the Kandahar Transshipment Yard.
“I thank each soldier of the 993rd for a job well done,” said Gillespie to the departing troops. “I’m proud of your accomplishments as well as what you’ve helped build and what you’ve achieved here.”
For all of their accomplishments during their deployment, the Florida-based soldiers were awarded with the NATO International Security Assistance Force Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the Overseas Service Ribbon. The unit also earned the Army Safety Excellence Streamer. Additionally, Capt. Keith VanDertholen and 1st Sgt. Scott Fredrickson presented each soldier in their company with a unit coin and plaque.
The 1710th Transportation Company “Ghost Riders” is also slated for a nine-month deployment, with a mission to provide logistical support and conduct sustainment and retrograde operations throughout Regional Command South.
Capt. Rodney Rhodes, 1710th commander and Dinwiddie, Va., native, said this deployment is one his team has eagerly anticipated.
“The 1710th has prepared for this moment for the past 13 months,” said Rhodes. “We have had long drill weekends, two training cycles, and we survived the outstanding training at the Fort Hood, (Texas), mobilization site. We now stand proud to be a part of the 495th CSSB and 3rd Sustainment Brigade.”
Rhodes thanked the 993rd Transportation Co. for their help and constant communication during their transitional time period. Gillespie said that the 993rd helped set up the new team for success.
“I want to welcome the 1710th,” said Gillespie. “You have a large footprint to fill, but I’m confident that you will fill that footprint and build upon the many benchmarks that the 993rd set.”
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