By Rachel Petersen
Soldiers from the Army National Guard’s 1245th Transportation Company, along with their loved ones and family, friends and community members, participated in a deployment ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Southeast Expo Center in McAlester.
“The 1245th Transportation Company, headquartered in McAlester, is a medium truck company whose Soldiers are trained in the operation of the Army’s Palletized Loading Systems (PLS),” according to Lt. Col. Max Moss, of the Oklahoma Military Department’s Office of Public Affairs.
Soldiers with the 1245th Transportation Company will travel to Fort Hood, Texas, for post-mobilization training, Moss said, before deploying to Afghanistan in late December.
“While deployed to Afghanistan they will be responsible for transporting supplies throughout their area of operation along with providing security for themselves and contracted civilians,” Moss said. “They will be mobilized for one year and deployed to Afghanistan for approximately nine months.”
Maj. Gen. Myles L. Deering, the adjutant general of Oklahoma, was the first of three guest speakers to address those in attendance at the ceremony Saturday afternoon. “Thank you for being here today,” Deering said to the people in the stands, “to say a temporary farewell.” And then to the soldiers, Deering said, “I’m so proud of each and every one of you ... you are fulfilling a unique and much needed roll in Afghanistan.”
Please know that the Oklahoma National Guard, your family and the people of this community support you, Deering said. “Our Nation recognizes your sacrifice.”
Deering continued to talk about how the 1245th Transportation Company is no stranger to conflict. In March of 2003, the company deployed to Iraq for one year and then deployed again for one year to Iraq in 2008.
“I’m completely confident that you will represent this great state, the Nation and this community well, no just well, but exemplary.”
Both Deering, and the second guest speaker, Col. Carl L. Franks, the commander of the 90th Troop Command, told the soldiers how important it is to stay in contact with loved ones back home as much as possible while deployed.
Deering and Franks also told the soldiers to take care of eachother while overseas.
In addressing the audience, Franks said, “These soldiers are well trained and will make Oklahoma proud.” Then to the soldiers, he said, “I am proud of each and every one of you,” Franks said.
The final speaker at the ceremony, Lt. Col. Brad Carter, the commander of the 345th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said he has spent the past seven months watching the 1245th Transportation Company prepare to go overseas. “They are the best trained, best led, most motivated unit,” that Carter has seen, he said.
To the soldiers’ family and friends, Carter said, “We all recognize the sacrifices you make.” And to the soldiers, he said, “You will serve with distinction, just as all Thunderbirds have in the past. Serve with distinction, do your duties and come home safe. God bless and God Speed.”
Contact Rachel Petersen at firstname.lastname@example.org.