Postal Soldiers deploy to Iraq

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

FORT HOOD, Texas Only three months after the 81st Adjutant General (Postal), Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), uncased their guidon on Guidon Field, it was cased for deployment during a small ceremony Oct. 12 at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center.

The approximately 20 members of the small postal unit said goodbye to family members before they departed on a 12-month tour to Iraq shortly after the quick ceremony.

According to Lt. Col. Jason Kuroiwa, a Hawaii, native and director of the 81st, the unit’s mission will be to provide theater military mail terminal, or MMT, support at locations in Kuwait, Baghdad International Airport and Balad Air Base in Iraq.

“It’s a repository for all mail that goes to the Iraqi and Kuwaiti theater,” Kuroiwa said.

From there, it will get distributed to the Army post offices at each of the smaller locations, and then to the individual Soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, he explained.

“Everything filters through us to the Soldier,” Kuroiwa said.

According to Kuroiwa, mail is an important morale booster for the Soldiers in theater.

“It’s something tangible, a piece of home they can look at every day,” he said.

The MMT Soldiers will also have an important role in ensuring absentee ballots are expedited to the Soldiers, and then back to their home states, in order to ensure everyone’s vote is counted in the upcoming election, explained Kuroiwa.

Several members of the Cobra Patrol, Group 476 of the Boy Scouts, who adopted the 81st, made the hour-long drive from Waco to see the Soldiers off.
Before the Soldiers left, the scouts handed each one of them a small folded flag, and gave the buses the scout salute as they departed the gym.

 

Lt Col Jason Kuroiwa and Sgt Maj Jerry Hernandez
Lt. Col. Jason Kuroiwa, director of the 81st Adjutant General (Postal), Special Troops Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), and Sgt. Maj. Jerry Hernandez, the senior noncommissioned officer for the 81st, roll up the unit's guidon during a short ceremony Oct. 12 at the Kieschnick Physical Fitness Center on Fort Hood. The unit departed for a 12-month tour to Iraq following the casing ceremony. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Rob Strain, 15th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs)