COSCOM Soldiers to provide ammo support for OIF

Story by Pfc. Crystal Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

Soldiers of the 1st Platoon, 664th Ordnance Company, 553rd Corps Support Battalion, 64th Corps Support Group, 13th Corps Support Command, deployed for Iraq October 19 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The platoon will provide ammunition support to units in Iraq and make ammunition deliveries to various military locations within the region, said 1st Lt. Willie Garris, 664th executive officer who is deploying with the platoon.

Garris, whose promotion to captain will become official November 1, will act as commander for the platoon while in Iraq.

Many Soldiers in the platoon have deployed before - some with the 664th and some with other units. Their experience has had a positive impact in preparing Soldiers who have never deployed, said Sgt. Larry Thompson, a squad leader in the platoon.

"We're more prepared, better trained than before," said Thompson, who is deploying with the 664th for the second time.

One major area which called for additional training was family care, Thompson continued. Soldiers and their families often have a period of difficulty adjusting during deployment, and situations at home may affect mission accomplishment. With this in mind, the command team decided to offer more extensive training for families and Soldiers prior to deployment.

"We trained Soldiers to more effectively manage their families while they're gone," said Thompson.

In a speech before the platoon loaded the bus to deploy, Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry, COSCOM commanding general, reiterated the necessity of Soldiers taking care of themselves and their families during deployment.

"You have two missions," Terry said to the deploying Soldiers.

The first mission will be ammunition support, Terry said.

"The second mission is to take care of each other," admonished Terry.

Turning to the Soldier's families and friends, Terry continued his speech.

"Families - support your Soldiers. Prayers, letters, cards, gifts in the mail - that's all I ask," the commanding general requested.

As a result of months of deployment training and efforts to ensure both Soldiers and their families are cared for, the Soldiers and their families are ready for deployment, added Garris.

"Morale is really up," Garris went on. "They're all strong - mentally, physically . . . They're ready to fight. I'm very confident in the Soldiers I have, the jobs they're going to do."

"I have all the confidence in the world [officers, non-commissioned officers and previously deployed Soldiers will] take care of your Soldiers," Terry continued, assuring the loved ones of the deploying Soldiers.

After speaking to the families, Terry again addressed the Soldiers just before the buses were loaded.

"Come back safe," he told them. "You're all Americans - come back as a team."


news photo
Lt. Col. David Wilcox, commander of the 2nd Chemical Brigade, offers comfort to Pfc. Alexander R. Hewitt of the 1st Platoon, 664th Ordnance Company, as the platoon deploys October 19. Photo by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist