Marne Soldiers depart for Afghanistan

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Story by SPC Noelle Wiehe on 08/03/2017
FORT STEWART, Ga. -- Approximately 160 Soldiers of the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division, deployed August 3, to Afghanistan following a final formation in Newman Gym on Fort Stewart, Georgia.

The HHBN Soldiers will be among 250 service members from 3rd Inf. Div. serving as part of the U.S. Forces Afghanistan National Support Element in support of Operations Resolute Support and Freedom's Sentinel.

"The division as a whole is there to support U.S. Forces Afghanistan and coordinate all of the support-type tasks for the entire theater," said Lt. Col. Luke Richards, commander, HHBN, 3rd Infantry Division. "For the (HHBN), we are there to make sure the division staff the commander and his staff can do their mission."

The HHBN Soldiers will provide administrative support, logistics, training and anything else needed to ensure division can accomplish their tasks in country, Richards said. They will also provide force protection of their own facility and facility maintenance around the compound to ensure operability for division Soldiers, he said.

"We take care of all of those things that have to happen behind the scenes so that (the command team) can just focus on supporting the team that is out there in Afghanistan," Richards said.

Pvt. 1st Class Brendan Morgan, a signals intelligence analyst with HHBN, said he excited to do what he was trained to do at what will be his first deployment since he enlisted in the U.S. Army.

"It is going to be good to get to actually go and do our job and do some good," Morgan said.

Morgan's wife, Larissa, and 2-year old son, Padraic, were at Newman Gym to see him off. He said they had talked about keeping in touch through Facebook, Skype, email and FaceTime during his deployment.

To prepare for the mission, Soldiers of HHBN ensured their proficiency at individual Soldier tasks, conducted live fire exercises and trained on the standards for where they are going, Richards said.

The unit will also have a platoon of Bosnian soldiers attached to them, Richards said.

"For some of the younger team, this will be a pretty good experience for them to interact with other countries and other services," Richards said.

The timeline for the day of deployment allowed deploying Soldiers to see their children off for their first day of school, Richards said.

Family Readiness Groups within individual companies held trainings and town halls leading up to the deployment to provide Family Members of deploying Soldiers comfort through knowledge and understanding of the mission, Richards said.

"Sometimes it is just a matter of knowing and being aware of what we're going to do down there," Richards said. "Everyone has their own image of how things might be."

Richards said it is important to share the information to allow for a more common visualization of what will happen.

"Even if you go to the same location 10 different times, it is going to be different every time," Richards said.

Brig. Gen. David Hamilton, deputy commanding general support, thanked the "unsung heroes," of the deploying Soldiers for their support in his final remarks just moments before Soldiers boarded the buses to Hunter Army Airfield to deploy.

"Our loved ones, our Family Members, wives, husbands, children, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles those who are here to support our sendoff," Hamilton said. "Those who have been here with us through thick and thin, those who are here to show their love, affection, respect, admiration for the hard work that our Marne Soldiers do."

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