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Navy Cargo Handlers Return from Deployment

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS060507-07
Release Date: 5/7/2006 3:00:00 PM


By Lithographer 3rd Class Emily Zamora, Fleet Public Affairs Center Atlantic

NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- About 260 Navy cargo handlers mobilized by the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group (NAVELSG) returned to the Navy Air Terminal at Naval Station Norfolk May 5.

The majority of the NAVELSG Sailors were stationed in Kuwait to conduct cargo-handling operations. A smaller contingent was stationed in Iraq conducting air cargo handling operations with the 3rd Marine Air Wing.

The Sailors were mobilized in August 2005 and received pre-deployment training at Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, Cheatham Annex, in Williamsburg, Va. They deployed in September to provide combat service support through logistics port operations in Kuwait and Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

A first wave of 150 Sailors attached to NAVELSG Charlie returned March 10 after completing their vessel operations mission in Kuwait ahead of schedule.

Welcoming home the Navy Reserve and active-duty Sailors was Rear Adm. Hank Tomlin, commander, Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group.

Tomlin had many inspirational and motivating words for the Sailors of NAVELSG Charlie.

“You truly are our country’s patriots,” said Tomlin. “You put down the tools of your trades, you left your families behind, and you went off to defend our country in this global war on terror. You made the sacrifice.”

While on station, NAVELSG Sailors received, stowed, tracked and delivered supplies, ammunition and warfighting equipment to more than 207,000 Soldiers, Sailors and Marines from 47 brigade-level units deploying and redeploying in and out of Iraq.

Unique about this deployment was that NAVELSG Charlie was comprised of both active-duty and Reserve cargo handlers.

The active-duty Sailors deployed with NAVELSG Charlie are attached to Navy Cargo Handling Battalion (NCHB) 1 in Williamsburg.

The Navy Reservists are from Navy Cargo Handling and Supply Support Battalions with headquarters and companies in Alameda, Calif.; Atlanta; Fort Dix, N.J.; Gulfport, Miss.; Horseheads, N.Y.; Houston; Lehigh Valley, Pa.; Mobile, Ala., New Orleans; Plainville, Conn., Sacramento, Calif., Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

A Reservist from Direct Support Supply (DSS), Storekeeper 2nd Class Roxana Gonzalez, said that her deployment with NAVELSG Charlie was her first.

“It was an eye-opener," said Gonzalez, “all these Sailors from different locations in one mission. And of course our mission changed several times, but we kept the momentum.”

Chief Machinist’s Mate (SW) Robin Liberty said, “The group I had was awesome. They worked 20 hours a day.”

Liberty added, “I would go back in a heartbeat.”

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