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    1-109th Infantry Soldiers leave for Middle East deployment

    1-109th Infantry Soldiers depart for Middle East deployment

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Keeler | Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, board a plane at Harrisburg...... read more read more

    MIDDLETOWN, Pa. – About 150 Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 109th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 28th Infantry Division departed Pennsylvania March 4 to begin a deployment to the Middle East.

    The unit has been preparing for this mission for over a year, said Lt. Col. William Ault, commander of the 1-109th. During that time, he said, the Soldiers have been tested and qualified through a number of administrative and medical evaluations to ensure they are physically able to perform and their personnel records are up to date.

    It was sometimes challenging to prepare for the deployment because of several operations across the state that required Soldiers from the battalion to support, Ault said.

    “Who would have thought two years ago we would have done all the things that we have done in the last twenty four months,” Ault said, noting that Soldiers from the battalion have supported domestic operations, training events, individual military education, Joint Readiness Training Center, COVID-19 missions and more.

    Sgt. 1st Class Analiz Gerena, a platoon sergeant in the maintenance platoon of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-109th, said she and her Soldiers have worked hard over the last year to make sure their vehicles are ready for the mission.

    “A lot of my focus for preparing for the deployment has been making sure all the vehicles are up to standard and good to go,” said Gerena, a Lancaster, Pa., native. “The weather over in the Sinai is much different than in Pennsylvania, so we are ensuring that the vehicles are ready. The biggest thing for us is sand and dust getting into the system and making sure that the services are up to date.”

    Part of the preparation for the maintenance section was getting experience with the various kinds of equipment that they may be working with, said Gerena. Planning hands-on training with some of the vehicles that are not organic the 1-109th helped develop the understanding of how to operate and maintain these vehicles during the mission.

    This will not be the first deployment for many of the battalion’s Soldiers. In fact, several of them have multiple deployments under their belt.

    Staff Sgt. Wade Morehart, a squad leader in 1st platoon, Alpha Company, 1-109th Ifantry, deployed in 2017 while on active duty with the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Battalion, 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment.

    “So what we, and other leaders within the 1-109th, have done is ensure that have gone over convoy procedures and developing standard operating procedures,” said Morehart, a Williamsport, Pa., native. “We have been going over area defense, and other important types of training to leave no stone unturned. The NCOs within the platoons have leaned forward to make sure that at their level their Soldiers are ready to be successful.”

    For Sgt. 1st Class Mark Arnold, a platoon sergeant for 2nd platoon, Charlie Company, 1-109th Infantry, this will mark his third deployment with the Pennsylvania National Guard. Arnold previously deployed with the 1-109th to Kuwait in 2012, and he deployed with the 3rd Squadron, 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment in 2019.

    “On my first deployment, my squad leader already had three combat deployments. And he was able to impart so much information to us,” said Arnold, a Bangalor, Pa., native. “I’m trying to better prepare my Soldiers with expectation management. I’m trying to set the example and get them to start thinking that this is what is will probably be like. But, do not be surprised if it changes.”

    The Soldiers could not be successful without the support of their families, said Morehart.

    “The family is always supportive,” said Moreheart. “The wife has been through this before. The parents, friends, and wife, are always concerned, but it’s not the first time we have been through this kind of adventure. And they know that I enjoy what I do. If I didn’t have the confidence, support, and faith of my wife and family, it would not means as much as it does.”



    Date Taken: 03.11.2022
    Date Posted: 03.11.2022 08:01
    Story ID: 416199
    Location: MIDDLETOWN, PA, US 
    Hometown: BANGOR, PA, US
    Hometown: LANCASTER, PA, US
    Hometown: WILLIAMSPORT, PA, US

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