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    Army Reserve Soldiers prepare for first overseas deployment

    Citizen-Soldier says farewell to family

    Photo By Lt. Col. Gregg Moore | U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Jessica Fagan, a transportation management coordinator with the...... read more read more

    LOS ALAMITOS, CA, UNITED STATES

    03.21.2015

    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Deborah Runkles-Jenkins 

    304th Sustainment Brigade

    LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. – Nineteen U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 975th Transportation Company Detachment (Movement Control Team) based at Los Alamitos, California, participated in a farewell deployment ceremony held at the Sgt. Paul T. Nakamura Army Reserve Center here March 21, 2015.

    City of Los Alamitos Council Member Dean Grose attended the ceremony to thank the Soldiers for their service to their country and to offer words of encouragement to family members.

    The word "deployment" evokes emotions ranging from fear, to excitement, to proud. It’s never an easy topic of discussion around the military family’s dinner table, but it’s one that has been a reality for many. Army Reserve Soldiers face the unique challenge of balancing a civilian career, higher education and family life with their military obligations, a feat in itself. Add a first-time deployment to the mix and these citizen-Soldiers have their work cut out for them. More than half of the MCT are deploying for the first time.

    The ceremony’s keynote speaker, 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Commander Brig. Gen. David Elwell, had some encouraging words specifically for those first-timers.

    “This is going to be one of the highlights of your life,” said Elwell. “You’re going to build friendships and memories and, you’re going to be doing things for your country that the majority of your fellow citizens can’t even imagine doing.”

    U.S. Army Reserve Spc. Jessica Fagan, a transportation management coordinator with the 975th, has been a citizen-Soldier for five years with no deployments under her belt. She summed up her emotions about deploying for the first time in one word.

    “Ready,” she said.

    Fagan, a native of Sweet Home, Oregon, said she is looking forward to her first deployment and made big sacrifices to prepare.

    With only seven classes left to graduate, Fagan took a couple months off from school as a senior at California State University, Northridge. She said she wanted to make memories with family to take with her before flying to Fort Hood for several more months of additional mobilization training.

    “The Army Reserve is a big part of my life and deploying is a step I’ve been wanting to take,” said the marketing major. “Putting school on hold is worth it - It just feels right.”

    With the excitement of putting her Army training to use in Kuwait for nine months, Fagan admits she has some fears.

    “I’m really confident in my unit and my leaders, and I’m excited to see what we accomplish over there,” she said. “But it can be scary knowing what could happen.”

    U.S. Army Reserve Sgt. Tyler Mott recently transferred from the 418th Quartermaster Battalion out of Marana, Arizona, to fill a position with the 975th and said he is excited about deploying for the first time.

    “What the Army Reserve does around the world is great,” said the Tucson, Arizona, native. “We do a lot of good for a lot of people, and I look forward to doing what I need to do to further my Army Reserve career.”

    Mott, a transportation management coordinator with six years in the Reserve, is the father of an 18-month-old son and husband to a prior Navy sailor.

    “It’s scary leaving family behind,” he said. “But my son is in good hands with my wife. She’s a smart woman - a teacher - and we are getting to know Skype more and more.”

    Mott works as a relationship banker for a large nationwide bank in his civilian life. He said it meant a lot to him that his employer went above and beyond in supporting his deployment schedule and that they are a big military support organization.

    Anticipating his first deployment, U.S. Army Reserve Capt. Daniel Storer said he knew what he was signing up for when taking command of the 975th about one month ago. He worked to mobilize the unit while in his prior position as a mobilization officer with the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), he said.

    “This is my first time deploying overseas,” said the Redondo Beach, California, native. “We are all very prepared and ready to go.”

    Preparation is an essential part of any deployment, especially when the deployment is overseas. In addition to online training and home station exercises, Storer said members of the detachment trained in unique operations such as Yama Sakura, the largest bilateral ground exercise held in Japan.

    “In all our preparation, it’s never easy to leave family and friends behind,” said Storer, who asked that the families be patient during the movement to Kuwait. “We wish all the families the best and we will stay in contact with them as much as possible.”

    Elwell thanked the families for their sacrifice of giving up their loved ones for this important mission and offered his final words to the unit before the conclusion of the ceremony.

    ”Be proud of your service,” said Elwell. “Be proud of wearing the uniform and represent it well ... God bless America.”

    During their mobilization in Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, the 975th will replace the 458th MCT, based in Belleville, Illinois, providing transportation expertise in the movement of personnel, goods and equipment within their assigned area of operations.

    The 975th Transportation Company Detachment (Movement Control Team) is part of the 420th Transportation Battalion, 304th Sustainment Brigade, 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary).

    Also in attendance was Maj. Gen. Megan Tatu, commanding general of the 79th Sustainment Support Command, Col. Gaspare Magaddino, chief of staff for the 311th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Lt. Col. John Kirkland, commander of the 420th Transportation Battalion.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 03.21.2015
    Date Posted: 03.21.2015 22:20
    Story ID: 157733
    Location: LOS ALAMITOS, CA, US 
    Hometown: LOS ANGELES, CA, US
    Hometown: ORANGE COUNTY, CA, US
    Hometown: REDONDO BEACH, CA, US
    Hometown: SWEET HOME, OR, US
    Hometown: TUCSON, AZ, US

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    Army Reserve Soldiers prepare for first overseas deployment