Companies case colors ahead of deployment
Stars and Stripes May 9, 2008
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion and the 574th Quartermaster Company cased their colors here Thursday in preparation for deployment to Iraq.
The soldiers are part of a group of 1,000 troops from the 16th Sustainment Brigade headed downrange to help move supplies to combat units in northern Iraq, provide financial services, maintain vehicles, make identification cards, deliver mail and keep computer networks running, according to Col. Martin Pitts, the brigade’s commander.
The 18th and 574th soldiers recently finished a mission rehearsal exercise at Hohenfels that showed they are well-prepared for the mission, he told those gathered for the deployment ceremony.
“There are some tough times ahead of us, but all of us will work together and grow stronger as an Army family,” he said.
Capt. Natalia Mercedes-Williams, 29, 18th CSSB materiels management officer, and her husband, Capt. Eugene Williams, 28, the unit’s supply officer, will deploy together for the first time.
They spent two years apart after Williams deployed to Iraq in 2004 and Mercedes-Williams deployed there in 2005, Mercedes-Williams said.
The deployment means some radical lifestyle changes for the couple, such as sending their 19-month old daughter Victoria to live with her grandparents in New York, she said.
And the pair don’t yet know if they can room together in Iraq.
“It will be up to the base commander,” explained Mercedes-Williams.
At the ceremony, 18th CSSB commander Lt. Col. Christopher Roscoe praised his troops and their families.
“Many would argue that the emotional stress on you (soldiers’ families) can be greater than that faced by the soldiers deploying,” he said.