96th Transportation Company depolys: Again

Story by Pvt. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th COSCOM Public Affairs Office

The 96th Transportation Company moved out Sunday for its fourth deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The company will provide heavy lift transportation support while in Kuwait and Iraq.

The 96th is probably one of the most deployed units in the Army, said 13th Corps Support Command commanding officer Brig. Gen. Michael J. Terry. They were also one of the first units to deploy from Fort Hood in support of OIF.

The fact that deployment is no stranger to the Soldiers of the 96th was evident by the way they acted prior to leaving on Sunday. One non-commissioned officer, Staff Sgt. Wilfredo Mojica, has been deployed four times.

This familiarity with deployment helped him grin as he posed for a camera before loading up on a bus which would take him to the airport and ultimately lead him back to Iraq. He seemed unconcerned with the dangers that lay ahead. The problem most on his mind was his luggage - and that was no problem at all. His experience taught him well, he said.

"I've learned to pack light!" Mojica laughed, patting a lightweight, nearly-empty bag which he held loosely at his side.

Other Soldiers had something quite different at their sides as they prepared to leave family and friends behind once again.

One such Soldier was Spc. Jason M. Maus. Maus lay on the grass in front of Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center with his wife and four children close by. Lying back on his elbows, he laughed as he watched his youngest son, Connor, dance and sing. He leaned his head over as his young daughter wrapped her arms around his shoulders and kissed him on the cheek. He smiled as his oldest son, Jason bragged about the Mohawk his daddy had given him. He grinned as his "quiet son" put his patrol cap on and sat on the grass.

Before going to the fitness center, the Maus family spent the day playing laser tag and enjoying quality time together. They all knew it would be their last opportunity to be together for quite a while. This family is no stranger to the difficulties and loneliness of deployment. The specialist has been deployed to Iraq before.

The impact of deployment on the entire family did not go unmentioned during the deployment ceremony Sunday.

"Both families and Soldiers have a responsibility," Terry said in a speech praising the 96th for its efforts both past and present. "Soldiers … complete the mission. Families … stand by your Soldiers."

Terry went on to remind the Soldiers that the first thing they should do when in country is to contact their families. He charged them to keep in touch with the people who love them and will be concerned for them while they are in Iraq. Then he promised the Soldiers they would be thought of constantly while they are away once again.

"You'll be in our prayers every day."

 

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Spc. Jason Maus and his family pose for a photo as they wait for the 96th's fourth deployment. Maus spent the day playing with his children and spending quality time with his wife and kids. Photo by Pvt. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist

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Staff Sgt. Wilfredo Mojica holds up four fingers, symbolizing the number of times he has deployed to Iraq. In his right hand, he holds the result of lessons learned from previous trips to Iraq — a lightweight, nearly-empty carry-on bag. "I've learned to pack light," he says. Photo by Pvt. Crystal D. Eldridge, 13th COSCOM Public Affairs Specialist