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Navy Cargo Handlers Return From Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050321-16
Release Date: 3/21/2005 2:32:00 PM

By Lt.j.g. Sean T. Foertsch, Naval Reserve Fleet Public Affairs Center, Norfolk

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- Amid cheers from their friends and families, about 200 mobilized Reservists of the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force's (NAVELSF) Forward Bravo group returned home to Norfolk from Kuwait March 20 after completing a seven-month deployment.

The Sailors are the second wave of nearly 500 mobilized reservists to return to Norfolk. The final group is due home in April. While in Kuwait and Iraq, the Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force played a key role in loading and offloading ships, fuel distribution and postal operations, as well as tracking parts and equipment for Marine Corps aviation units at airfields throughout Iraq and Kuwait.

Greeting the Sailors upon their return was Naval Expeditionary Logistics Support Force Commander Rear Adm. Hank B. Tomlin.

"You all proved that you are trained and ready to support the joint warfighter in any contingency environment on short notice," said Tomlin.

The Reservists are primarily from the following battalions: Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 10, Mobile Air Cargo Company, Norfolk, Va.; Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 6, Orange, Texas; Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 7, Great Lakes, Ill.; Naval Supply Support Battalion 2, Hartford, Conn.; and elements of Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 9, Columbus, Ohio.

"I am extremely proud of you and grateful to you and your families for the sacrifices you all have made," Tomlin added.

Also greeting the Sailors was Chief of Navy Reserve Vice Adm. John Cotton, who visited with them before their deployment and in theater.

"Men and women of this great team, you did it. Congratulations," said Cotton, welcoming the Sailors.

Loved ones came from all over the country to welcome their family members home. Shawna Bercey, wife of Machinery Repairman 2nd Class Chris Bercey, flew in from Nebraska to meet her husband.

"I'm thrilled. I can't believe they are coming home," said Shawna. "We are so proud of them."

Culinary Specialist 3rd Class Joseph DeJesus, of Naval Cargo Handling Battalion 7, said the deployment in Kuwait was positive.

"This was my first deployment in the four years I've been in the Navy," DeJesus said. "I felt it was fulfilling and that I learned a lot. I became a better Sailor."

Headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., NAVELSF is comprised of more than 4,000 full-time and selective Navy Reservists, and provides more than 90 percent of the U.S. Navy's supply and transportation expeditionary capability. NAVELSF assets are being mobilized for up to one year and deployed to meet joint requirements as part of the Department of Defense's scheduled force rotation plan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

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