The 120th Engineer Bn., Oklahoma Army National Guard, departs for Afghanistan
Ashley M. Alameda,
DoMaD Public Affairs:
More than 150 Soldiers from the 120th Engineer Battalion, Oklahoma Army National Guard departed Fort Bliss Aug. 22 for Afghanistan, after completing their mandatory pre-deployment training.
The unit arrived at Fort Bliss July 5 and was received by the Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment, or DoMaD. Upon completion of the mobilization processing, they were transported to McGregor Range to begin their training.
Lt. Col. Jackie R. Ritter, battalion commander, and Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Raby, battalion command sergeant major, both agreed that DoMaD has made significant improvements to its mobilization process since the last time their unit had deployed through Fort Bliss. The unit’s previous deployment was during the surge to Iraq in 2007.
“I feel really good about what’s happened here,” said Raby.
The command’s ultimate goal in training was to ensure cohesion between staff-level planning and company-level execution, which Ritter acknowledges was accomplished. Ritter charged each Soldier to strive to achieve individual goals during his/her downtime in theater by beginning a new hobby or taking college courses.
“I’m very proud of all of my Soldiers,” he said.
The 120th Engineer Battalion will conduct route clearance missions in Afghanistan. They will also assist the facilitation of closing some forward operating bases, which includes tasks such as conducting inventories, managing logistics and property book management.
The unit is part of a joint task force with other Army National Guard units from Missouri, Arkansas, North Carolina and Florida. Raby had many good things to say about working with those units at Fort Bliss and back in Oklahoma prior to arriving to Fort Bliss.
“It was great working with them. I can’t say enough about those guys!” said Raby.
The unit deployed for a nine-month rotation. When their deployment tour is complete, they will redeploy to Fort Bliss to conduct their demobilization before continuing to their home station in Oklahoma City.
“Having done this [military service] for 25 plus years, 37 plus for the sergeant major,” said Ritter, “the support we get from the community and citizens in general is heartwarming.”
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