Transportation company deploys for sixth rotation

By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain
15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

FORT HOOD, Texas — About 250 Soldiers from the 96th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), departed for a 12-month tour in Iraq during a ceremony Oct. 7 at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center on Fort Hood.

It is the company’s sixth deployment since 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, with each deployment ranging from six to 12 months in length, said Capt. Nelson Duckson, the company’s commander and Columbia, S.C., native.

Staff Sgt. Thomas Wardale, truck driver and 17-year Army veteran, has been with the 96th since 2002, and has deployed on all six rotations.

Wardale, a Hallandale, Miss., native, said one of the challenges of multiple deployments was constantly being away from his family.

He explained this past Thanksgiving and Christmas were the first ones he has spent at home since the deployments started.

Wardale said one of the biggest things Soldiers need to watch out for during the deployment is complacency, and the best way to keep from getting complacent is by treating every mission as if it were different.

“Every time you actually go, it’s totally different,” he said, explaining that the situation on the ground has changed each time he has deployed, and Soldiers cannot treat it the same as the last deployment.

“Everything is brand new,” Wardale said.

Before the Soldiers boarded the buses that would take them to the airfield, Brig. Gen. Mark McDonald, the deputy commanding general for III Corps had a few words of advice for the Soldiers.

He said they needed to trust in both their training and their leaders, and that Soldiers need not worry about the families they are leaving behind. Instead they should stay focused on accomplishing the mission, their families will be taken care of by the leaders and services here at Fort Hood.

 

Sgt. George Doss and his wife Marylou
Sgt. George Doss, with the 96th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), says goodbye to his wife Marylou at deployment ceremony at Fort Hood's Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center. About 250 Soldiers from the 96th deployed to Iraq Oct. 7. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)

Sgt Jeff O'Millian and his daughter Makenzie
Sgt. Jeff O'Millian, with the 96th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), gives his daughter Makenzie a hug before deploying on a 12-month tour to Iraq Oct. 7. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)