News: Depature ceremony for soldiers of B Company, BSTB, 1/34th BCT
Story by Spc. Trisha Betz
SAINT PAUL, Minn. - Twelve deploying soldiers of the Bravo Company, Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division were honored with a departure ceremony at 11 a.m. at the National Guard Armory, Bloomington, Minn, April 10.
The 12 soldiers will head to Camp Shelby, Miss., to mobilize in preparation to join soldiers from the 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team “Thunderbird”, based out of Oklahoma City, Oka., whom are currently preparing to be deployed to Afghanistan.
Preparing for a deployment for any soldier is a challenging task. The soldiers of the unit have been preparing for the deployment for months prior to the mobilization in April. Most soldiers will deal with an array of feelings prior to leaving home, as well as having tremendous pride in their service.
“The National Guard is great in the aspect that you get to be a whole person,” said Spc. Niklas P. Frenz, a soldier who deployed to Camp Liberty, Iraq previously. “You get to experience life at home with your family as well as being a soldier on deployments.”
Eleven out of the 12 soldiers have never deployed before, to include Spc. Staci Cornie, 24. Her and many of her peers have prepared different ways to keep in contact with family and friends back home.
"In preparation of this deployment I will try to be in as much contact with my four and a half year son as I can," said Spc. Cornie, a native of Bemidji, Minn. "I plan on leaving behind as many pictures of myself as I can, so he will remember what I look like."
After the ceremony, Picture A Hero, a non-profit organization that provided deploying service members portraits of themselves or their families. Their services include setting up a photo booth on-site, taking photos of deploying soldiers and offering free digital and print portrait to Soldiers and their family members. The soldiers of B Company, BSTB, 1/34th BCT were allotted time before and after the ceremony for photos with Picture A Hero.
“It means a lot to me to take the photographs of deploying soldiers,” said Charlotte Shogren Smith, a photographer with Picture A Hero.
“We [Picture A Hero] will often get emails from wives who have deployed husbands. They tell us that the picture we took of their soldier will sleep under their daughter’s pillow every night, or get a kiss every day before they got to school,” said Smith.
The soldiers will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. While deployed, they will provide and manage communications and information systems support to the 45th Brigade Combat Team.