By Spc. David Hodge

4th Infantry Division public affairs

The soldiers and families of the 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, attended pre-deployment briefings last Wednesday and Thursday at the Fort Hood Catering and Conference Center before the unit begins its third deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Col. Dave Hill, battalion commander, spoke to families about the Phoenix Battalion’s posture in the deployment timeline, as well as improvements in the quality of life on the forward operating base.

“There have been great improvements in our area of operation,” Hill said. “I’m ready to go over there and get started so we can all return safely home in June 2009.”

The battalion’s command staff spoke about important issues concerning the future mission to answer any questions and ease the tension associated with deployments.

“There is not a better group of soldiers to deploy with than the Phoenix soldiers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Larry Seaman, the battalion’s command sergeant major.

Information for the families included communicating with soldiers during the deployment and information about the battalion’s rear detachment, which will handle the unit’s garrison mission while the battalion is deployed.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Seaman and I chose nothing but the best to serve as the rear detachment for the battalion,” Hill said.

Each of the rear detachment cadre addressed common concerns.

“Soldiers need to make it as simple and easy for your significant other as possible while you are deployed,” said Sgt. Jason Elam, a command financial specialist.

Other organizations offered assistance and informational handouts, including Army Community Service, Army Red Cross, housing and finance.

“The briefings are always helpful,” said Becky Martinez, wife of Sgt. Reynaldo Martinez, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator assigned to the battalion’s Alpha Company. “This is the second deployment my husband has been on. I’ve been through this before, so I know what to do.”

The battalion, which provides combat service support for the brigade’s approximately 3,500 soldiers, is tentatively scheduled to deploy in early March.

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