October 14, 2016 –
“I feel confident because I have a great team and very patient platoon sergeant who doubles as a great mentor,” said Sipho.
When asked about the hardest part of the deployment Sipho stated that being away from her family would be a challenge, however, events such as Yellow Ribbon has helped both her and her family.
“My family didn’t know anything about the military except social media and the news , so being able to attend the events has helped ease their concerns.” Sipho’s mother and older sister attended the Yellow Ribbon event for the detachment in Atlanta, Georgia July 2016.
Sergeant First Class Phoenix also had family members attend Yellow Ribbon to include her mother, sister, aunt and two children. Although Phoenix says that Yellow Ribbon was helpful, she says she felt like they were already prepared because she describes herself as an “active reservist” due to her always being involved for most of her thirteen years of military service.
Phoenix also has faith in Sipho, her platoon leader and cited that the two have great communication. She stated that her biggest challenge was embodying the leadership role because this is the first deployment not only for her and Sipho, but also for the majority of the detachment.
Several training events leading up to the deployment has helped prepare her for the deployment and boost confidence as she and Sipho got to know their Soldiers. Large annual training events at Fort Bragg and Fort Riley were the primary confidence boosters.
“It took a lot of work, but training has really helped all of us feel prepared,” said Phoenix. After getting to know Soldiers, Sipho and Phoenix ensured that they also attended events such as the Family Programs University in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to learn how to utilize the programs available to help Soldiers and their families back home.
Colonel Paul Hettich, the rear commander of the 451st Expeditionary Sustainment Command, visited the detachment and recognized Sipho and Phoenix for all of their hard work.
“You both have done a great job preparing Soldiers and I know this will be a successful deployment,” said Col. Hettich as he coined both women. “Experience wise, this will be one more notch on my belt,” said Sipho.
Phoenix, agreeing with Sipho about the experience for both of them as leaders, also said that she would like to see the Soldiers growth after the deployment. “I will provide everything they need to succeed,” said Phoenix in closing remarks.