News: 3rd ESC soldiers deploy to Afghanistan
Story by Sgt. 1st Class Rob Strain
FORT KNOX, Ky. – More than 150 soldiers from the 3rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) departed Fort Knox, April 15, for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The deployment marks the third for the 3d ESC since it relocated to Fort Knox in June 2007. The command deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in May 2008 and to Haiti in January 2010 in support of Operation Unified Response.
While deployed, the 3rd ESC will ensure all United States and selected coalition and Afghan military forces are supported and sustained throughout the country and to assist in the responsible drawdown of U.S. forces. Given its joint mission, the command's name will be converted from an ESC to a Joint Sustainment Command – Afghanistan.
“The soldiers are ready to execute the mission in Afghanistan, and I’m confident they’ll do a bang up job,” Col. Kristin French, the 3rd ESC commander, said.
“I really feel that the team has come together,” French added. “We’ve got an opportunity now to show off our talents.”
For Chief Warrant Officer 3 Joseph Giles, the 3rd ESC air operations technician, being a part of the team makes this deployment that much better than his first tour to Afghanistan.
Giles, a Horseheads, N.Y., native, explained that during his first deployment, he joined the unit 30 days before they deployed and didn’t have time to get to know anyone else.
“I didn’t know anybody,” Giles said.
In addition to not knowing anyone else in the unit, Giles said he ended up doing a job he wasn’t familiar with, but that isn’t the case this deployment – he has been assigned to the 3rd ESC for nearly two years, training for this deployment.
“I’ll be doing what I know how to do,” Giles said, adding that he already knows his counterparts and what he is getting into.
That doesn’t mean the deployment will be easy; Giles said the most challenging part will be getting used to the environment and the quality of life – as well as leaving his wife and kids.
“It’s hard leaving family,” Giles said.
“The families are ready; the soldiers are ready, [and] the Fort Knox community is ready to send us off,” French said.
Command Sgt. Maj. Karl Roberts, the 3rd ESC senior enlisted advisor, indicated his readiness in four simple words.
“Fall in; let’s go,” Roberts said, referring to the military command to gather troops.