By Staff Sgt. Rob Strain

15th Sustainment Brigade

public affairs

During the early morning hours Friday, soldiers gathered in the Starker Physical Fitness Center on Fort Hood, as they do on most weekday mornings.

But these soldiers were different. They were not wearing the workout attire normally seen in a gym — they were here for an entirely different purpose.

These soldiers were clad in Army Combat Uniforms, complete with their weapons, and for more than 20 soldiers of the 406th Trailer Transfer Detachment, 180th Transportation Battalion, 15th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command, this gathering was a chance to say goodbye to their families before departing on a year-long deployment in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Once the soldiers reach Iraq, their mission will be to provide contracting oversight and quality control for civilian contractors moving large equipment around Kuwait and Iraq, said 1st Lt. Shatiqua Beckwith, the detachment’s commander.

Beckwith said that one of the key missions the detachment will be doing is acting as the “eyes and ears” of the contracting office that issued the contracts.

“We’ll be ensuring quality assurance, inspecting vehicles, and maintaining their operations,” Beckwith said.

Beckwith said her soldiers have been training for the past several months and are ready to go complete their mission.

“My soldiers are ready, eager and curious to go perform their mission,” she said.

She explained that many of her key leaders have multiple deployments already, and they have been sharing their experiences and lessons learned with the more junior soldiers.

Aside from helping to prepare her soldiers for the deployment, Beckwith spent some time making sure she was personally prepared.

“I’m ready to go,” Beckwith said. “I’m ready for the next 12 months.”

Being ready was a sentiment shared by Pfc. Raymond Foor, a mechanic from Pittsburgh.

“I need it,” he said.

Foor, who hasn’t been deployed before, explained he is looking forward to see what deployment is like, but he is a little nervous.

“Everybody’s nervous to go downrange,” he said.

Foor hopes to come back home for his rest and recuperation leave in time to see the birth of his child.

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