Tacoma-based Army Reserve unit deploys to Middle East for Operation Spartan Shield

By Maj. Maryjane Porter | March 6, 2020

Seattle, Wash. —

Family and friends gathered to bid farewell to approximately 50 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers of Detachment 1, 654th Regional Support Group, 364th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), at a send-off ceremony at CenturyLink Field Event Center, March 6, 2020. DET 1, led by Maj. Thomas Boler, a native of Vancouver, Washington, will deploy to the Middle East in support of Operation Spartan Shield, providing base life support for units rotating through the United States Central Command area of operation.

U.S. Army Reserve Ambassador for the state of Washington, Hon. Kurt Hardin, Col. Vince Rice, deputy commanding officer of the 364th ESC, Col. Kelly Mims and Command Sgt. Maj. Eric Anderson, commander and senior enlisted leader of the 654th RSG, respectively, were on hand to address and honor Soldiers and their family members.

On behalf of Brig. Gen. Stuart Werner, commanding general of the 364th ESC, Rice in his remarks encouraged Soldiers to look after each other, stay positive, do their job and be a family as they embark on their mission overseas.

“This mission is perhaps the most challenging thing you have been asked to do in your Army career, as some of you will be deploying for the very first time; ensure that you take care of yourselves and stay in contact with your family back home,” he said.

Col. Mims also echoed the importance of family in the equation for the detachment to succeed in accomplishing their mission.

“We wouldn’t be here without their support,” he said, assuring family members that he and his staff stand ready and available to support them while their heroes are deployed. Mims also encouraged the detachment commander to ensure that Soldiers stay in contact with family members when mission permits.

As DET commander, Boler thanked family members for their continued love and support, and for always allowing their Soldiers to do what the Army expects of them. He pointed to Soldiers spending numerous times away from family events, kids activities, etc., to ensure they are capable and combat-ready in support of the Army and global contingency operations.

"This is what we train for. We're prepared for this mission and we're ready to go," he said, pointing to months of individual readiness and collective training to get his team up to speed.

Boler also spoke to the level of experience in his formation, as many of his Soldiers have deployed multiple times in the past.

"We're one family, one team, one fight. We have experienced leaders going on this mission, who will be there to guide, mentor and support some of our Soldiers who will be deploying for the first time," he said.

Operation Spartan Shield maintains a U.S. military posture in Southwest Asia sufficient to strengthen U.S. defense relationships and build partner capacity. Units supporting OSS provides capabilities such as aviation, logistics, force protection and information management, and facilitate theater security cooperation activities such as key leader engagements, joint exercises, conferences, symposia and humanitarian assistance/disaster response planning.

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