More than 150 soldiers deploy this week for a nine to 12 month tour
Dressed in combat Army green, soldiers of the 77th Engineer Company said their farewells this week and deployed to Afghanistan as a part of the deconstruction phase of Operation Enduring Freedom.
A deployment ceremony was held on Monday on post in honor of the 77th Engineer Company, 94th Engineer Battalion. The company is composed of more than 150 soldiers who are carpenters, masons, electricians, electricians and masons ranging from ages 19 to 52.
The company's mission in Afghanistan will be to deconstruct the infrastructure that U.S. troops have built throughout the war.
“This is a good day, a day where we are sending a fully prepared, fully trained company to execute the mission the army gave them,” said Lt. Col. Gary Calese. “We are sending them to tear down the facilities that we started building 11 years ago.”
Calese said that the arrival of this company will lift the spirit of those soldiers in Afghanistan, serving as proof that the war is winding down.
“The 77th Engineer Company will change the landscape and infrastructure in Afghanistan to prepare our departure as an Army,” he said.
Yenter said that this company will be preparing the Afghan engineers to take over combat operations, as the war is expected to end in December 2014.
“This is truly a critical stage of the war,” he said.
Yenter reminded the company to never leave a soldier behind and to always take care of one another.
“There will be good days and there will be bad days,” Yenter said. “You've got to celebrate the good days, put them in the bank, because there will be tough days you will need to be recharged for.”
The company deployed early Saturday morning from Springfield-Branson National Airport for its nine to 12 month tour in Afghanistan.