12 January 2016 –
FORT BUCHANAN, PR – More than 5,000 Army Reserve Soldiers in Puerto Rico have deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism since 2001. Approximately 40 Soldiers in three different groups have left the island to complete their training at different mobilization sites in Texas before continuing over to the Middle East in the first eight days of this year.
Soldiers from the 969th Quartermaster Company (QM CO) and the 271st Human Resources Company (HR CO) have trained and prepared themselves for this new chapter in their military career. This is the first deployment for many of these Soldiers, while others are preparing for their third or fourth deployment.
The first group to depart was the 960th QM CO, led by Lt. Col. Carlos Rivera. As the deployments begin after the holiday season ends, family members are sad that their loved ones are leaving but know that they have a mission to accomplish.
Mrs. Ada Perez, spouse of Lt. Col. Carlos Rivera, OIC of the 969th QM CO, has been through a deployment with her husband before. “I do feel a little anxious even though I know several of the Soldiers deploying with my husband have all be previously deployed,” she said. “We will continue to use all means to communicate with each other as we did in 2003 when he first deployed.”
Sgt. 1st Class Luis Cotte, Fuel Lab Technician for the 969th QM CO, assures that he and his unit are prepared to execute their fueling mission. “This is my third deployment,” he said. “Each one has been an adventure and I have learned so much from each separate deployment. My family is ok; we were able to enjoy the holidays together and now it is time to go to work.”
Two days after the 969th QM CO left, a detachment of the 271st HR CO followed suit.
Capt. Orlando Garcia, Officer in Charge of the 271st HR Detachment, thanked the 1st Mission Support Command for all their support and help while preparing for their upcoming mission. “Our mission is to work with casualties; it is a very sensitive mission and I know we will face very delicate situations but we are trained and ready,” he said.
Another detachment of the 271st HR CO left with approximately 25 Soldiers Jan. 12. 1st Lt. Kevin Perez, Detachment Commander, said he feels confident that this deployment will be very successful and that everyone is ready for the mission.
“My Soldiers have been training to be individuals; now it is time to train as a group and work together,” said Perez. “This is our first deployment. I want my Soldiers to know that our mission is not complete until we are all back home with our families and loved ones.”
Perez talked about how he made the best of the holidays as he mentally prepared himself to leave his family and head out for deployment. “My family is very emotional but they understand the sacrifice that I am making,” he said. “They are very proud of me and my job. I want to thank my family for all of their love and support and I want them to know that I love them very much.”
From single mothers to recently married couples, sons, daughters and fathers with a baby on the way, these Soldiers have prepared themselves and are committed to fulfilling their duties to our Nation.
“This is my first deployment and it is a little bit hard for me because I am leaving my family,” said Spc. Joel Roman. “I am staying positive, I am going on a mission and am going to give my 100% and I know that I am prepared. My unit is a real close group; we are like family.”
Mrs. Adriana Luciano Torres, Roman’s wife, was present along with their one year old son. “I am sad that he is leaving but I know he is doing this because of us, his family and for his Country.” Torres said she has a strong family support system that will help her with her son and the baby she is currently expecting.
Soldiers have seen tremendous support from their families, friends, peers and 1st MSC leadership that have gathered at the Luis Marin Munoz International Airport to bid farewell to these Soldiers over the past week.
Brig. Gen. Jose R. Burgos, Commanding General of the 1st MSC, and Command Sgt. Major Harry Munoz, Command Sergeant Major of the 1st MSC, offered some words of advice to both the Soldiers and the family members present.
“You are ambassadors of the Army; you will now receive the additional training you need to complete your mission successfully,” said Burgos, “We are very proud of you and know you will do a great job.”
Both Burgos and Munoz focused on and reemphasized the importance of staying in contact with their loved ones during this time.
These deployments demonstrate the high level of preparation and training the Soldiers of the U.S. Army Reserve in Puerto possess in order to continue supporting the needs of our Nation, at a moment’s notice, at any location.