September 28, 2016 –
San Juan, Puerto Rico - Approximately 45 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 246th Quartermaster Company (QM Co.) (Mortuary Affairs) headed to Fort Hood, Texas for their pre-mobilization training on September 28, from the Luis Muñoz Marin Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Brig. Gen. Alberto C. Rosende, commanding general of the 1st Mission Support Command, shared some remarks with the Soldiers before they embarked on their new journey. “It is imperative that you never forget about your Family and that you take care of your battle buddy as if they are part of your Family back home,” said Rosende. “Keep in mind that much will be expected from you, due to the fact that you are wearing the ‘garita’ patch on your left shoulder. Mortuary Affair units from Puerto Rico have done extraordinary work on previous deployments and the bar has been set high, never forget that.”
For Sgt. 1st Class Jose Cruz, senior NCO of the 246th, this is his second deployment with the unit. As senior NCO, he wants his Soldiers to learn from this mobilization. "I want the Soldiers to grow and learn from this difficult experience as much as they can, so that in the future they can cope with even more difficult situations,” explained Cruz. “There is no better place to exercise one’s resiliency than being mobilized away from your family for a long period of time, I want them to become resilient Soldiers.”
2nd Lt. Maira Hernandez feels confident as she prepares to depart on her first deployment, “I understand the leadership in this unit is very well experienced,” said Hernandez. “I trust everything will go well for us and that we will earn a great amount of experience from this deployment.”
Building unit morale is a task that Staff Sgt. Nathanael Rivera brings upon himself. During previous deployments he was known for boosting morale by playing his guitar. “I enjoy playing the guitar for myself, to learn, and for the Soldiers to relieve stress,” said Rivera. “This time I brought a different instrument to make it more interesting and less mundane for the Soldiers.” Along with his Army issued equipment Rivera will travel with his cuatro guitar, which is the national instrument of Puerto Rico.
Before reaching their final destination the unit must undergo additional pre-mobilization training at Fort Hood Texas. The unit will be deployed for approximately six months in the Middle East and be spread out in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan. Two other detachments from the 246th will follow as replacements for detachment over the next year and a half.