FORT JACKSON, SC - Approximately 50 soldiers assigned to the 207th Regional Support Group, 143rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command gathered to say their goodbyes to family and friends here June 1, as they prepare for an upcoming deployment to southern Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The soldiers participated in a farewell ceremony at the Solomon Center where family members witnessed the casing of the unit colors and received reassurance their Soldiers are deploying with great leadership.
The 207th RSG will serve as the garrison command for all U.S. forces stationed at the Kandahar Airfield, which includes about 34,000 service members, civilians, contractors and third country nationals.
“Our mission will be to manage the life support operations on the base,” said Lt. Col. Charles A. Gambaro, Jr., operations officer, 207th RSG. “I believe we have one of the finest teams that we could put together for this very important mission.”
Over the past few years, the 207th RSG has had five subordinate units mobilize and deploy in support of Operation Iraq Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. However, this deployment will be unique in that the unit will be one of the last RSGs to command the garrison in Kandahar, and it will mark the first time the 207th has been able to fly their colors overseas.
“I am entrusting the reputation of the American flag with you,” said Maj. Gen. Peter Lennon, commanding general, 377th Theater Support Command. “I have every confidence that you will represent that flag proudly.”
Prior to the deployment the unit will conduct pre-mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, where soldiers will complete individual and collective training to help prepare them for their mission.
Capt. Yolanda Mason, commanding officer, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 207th RSG, will be deploying for her second time and she looks forward to helping her soldiers overcome the challenges of deployment. “Some of these soldiers have never deployed before, and we want to make sure they are coping well with the transition,” she said.
One of the soldiers joining Mason is Spc. Alicia L. Hall, a human resource specialist with the 207th Regional Support Group, and recent mother of an 18-month-old. “Two of my best friends are going with me,” she said. “We’ll be there for each other and that will make the time go by faster.”
During the ceremony, Col. Jeffrey Sims, commander of the 207th RSG, addressed the crowd and encouraged his soldiers to be confident in the training the Army has provided and realize their training will help ensure mission success.
“Today, standing before you are soldiers that belong to the greatest military the world has ever known,” said Sims. “I look forward to this deployment, we are ready, Hickory 6 out!”