Reservists to augment SETAF's Afghanistan mission
November 8, 2004
VICENZA, Italy — About 150 Army reservists in Europe will be mobilized in a few weeks to support the Southern European Task Force (Airborne) mission to Afghanistan.
Some members of the SETAF Augmentation Unit, 330th Rear Operations Center and the 7th Army Reserve Command’s headquarters will be sent to Southwest Asia. Others will stay behind and take roles in rear detachments.
Brig. Gen. Richard M. Tabor, the 7th ARCOM commander, said the mobilization might last for up to two years. He said it would be the second time some are called up in as many years, following a brief stint to support operations in Iraq.
Such call-ups are becoming second nature in the unit, Tabor said.
“They knew exactly what they were getting into when they became members of the 7th ARCOM,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s not a matter of if, but when, they’re going to be mobilized.”
That date is Nov. 23 for soldiers such as Maj. Sana Mason and Sgt. 1st Class Lara Pedraza. Both are members of the SETAF Augmentation Unit, based in Vicenza. But both live in Germany and don’t hold full-time jobs.
Mason’s husband retired from active-duty service and holds a civilian job with the military. He’ll be watching over their 9-year-old daughter. Pedraza’s active-duty husband is based in Hohenfels, Germany.
He’ll just have to take care of a few fish.
“He’s responsible,” Pedraza said with a smile. “I’m not worried.”
Mason said she’s known the move would happen for a while.
“When I read in the paper that SETAF was going to go, I knew it right away,” she said. During the last mobilization, she was sent to the port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. She talked with pride about getting out tons of gear for 1st Armored Division troops.
“There’s mixed feelings,” she said. “Sure I’ll miss my family. But there’s the sense of duty to your country and knowing what you do is important.”
Pedraza, who finished a 10-year active-duty stint in 2002, had just applied for a civilian job when she heard the news. But she’s got no complaints.
“I love the uniform,” she said. “I raised my hand. It was my duty to do this.”
Both women will probably not be deployed to Afghanistan. But that hasn’t been determined yet.
“SETAF hasn’t given us a definite idea on who’s going and staying, but we have a pretty good idea,” said Master Sgt. Mark Saddler, who will be the SETAF reserve unit’s rear detachment NCO.
Most of those going to Afghanistan are currently training with their active-duty counterparts in Grafenwöhr, Germany.
The deployment is likely to start in late winter or early spring.
The 330th, based in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and elements of the 7th ARCOM headquarters will join SETAF — leading the mission — and a number of other active-duty units from Germany and the States.
Col. Wesley Forystek, the SETAF Augmentation commander, said in a phone interview that his troops bring a variety of specialized skills when they activate. Most spent time in the active-duty forces and currently hold civilian jobs.
Those assigned to the SETAF unit live in a handful of countries around Europe, with a few from the States. Forystek said the reservists were blending well with their active-duty counterparts in “team-building across the entire staff.”
“They’re all standing tall and looking good.”