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Alpha 307th tackles Afghanistan Signal Mission

November 21, 2012

By Crista Mary Mack, 311th Signal Command (Theater)

HELEMANO MILITARY RESERVATION, Hawaii -- Friends and family members of Soldiers from the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion's Alpha Company gathered Nov 16 to bid farewell to the Soldiers at a deployment ceremony here.

The ceremony officially announced the Signal company's deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was officiated by 516th Signal Brigade Commander Col. Scott D. Baer, and 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion Commander Lt. Col. Scott A. Bird.

"Alpha company is a superb unit," said Baer. "I am as confident in their abilities today as I will be tomorrow, and for the 270 days that they'll have in Afghanistan. Together they will accomplish their mission on time and to standard, regardless of the difficulty."

The 307th ESB is, when not deployed, responsible for tactical command, control, communications, and computer capabilities in the Pacific Theater, through the U.S. Army, Pacific' s Theater Security Cooperation Program.

The unit was notified in June of the upcoming nine-month deployment, and have been training and preparing since, transitioning from TSCP Support to preparing for combat operations. In six months, the Soldiers completed pre-certifications, T-certification training, Field Training Exercises, Sling Loading, Hand Grenade training, completed a week-long validation rehearsal exercise, and more.

"The leaders and Soldiers standing before you did an outstanding job," said Baer. "After all this hard work, we now have Alpha Company standing in front of us, equipped, trained, and fully mission capable to deploy as an expeditionary signal company."

In 2010, 307th Headquarters and Headquarters Company and Bravo Companies deployed in support of the Operation Enduring Freedom Presidential Surge, taking on the dubious task of establishing and providing strategic communications throughout much of Afghanistan.

The symbolic casing and uncasing of the colors was the pinnacle event and represented the deploying part of the company going forward and the rear detachment's commitment to metaphorically continuing to fly the flag by continuing the mission at home.

"As our nation moves forward with its evolving mission in Afghanistan, some, but not all of Alpha Company's resources, are required to support that mission," said Bird. "So we've established a provisional headquarters in the form of Alpha company's rear detachment, to care for the Soldiers, Family and equipment here in Hawaii."

Immediately following the official casing of the colors, the Soldiers of Alpha Co. 307th Rear Detachment uncased their colors, symbolizing their official assumption of duties and responsibilities. The rear detachment will be responsible for providing home station support, administrative operations, command and control, accountability of equipment and deployed personnel, and serve as communications link between the deployed Soldiers and their Families.

The deploying element of Alpha Company, though small in number, has a geographically diverse mission ahead, but according to Alpha Company's Commander Cpt. Robert Bergdorf, his Soldiers are ready for the challenge.

"This is our first time deploying as a company into Afghanistan, we'll be in the eastern part of Afghanistan, where we break up into multiple small teams and cover a large area of the country, but that's what we do, provide communication in small teams to various supported units," said Bergdorf. "This is our first combat deployment since Vietnam but we're accustomed to it, since while here in Hawaii we've deployed in support of exercises in Thailand, Cambodia, Korea and Japan."

Both Bird and Baer thanked the Families of Alpha Company.

"To the spouses, children and Family members, thank you for the dedication, sacrifice and support you provide your Soldiers," said Baer. "None of this would have been possible without your support and understanding. You are the bedrock of our Army, and no job is tougher than yours."

Baer expressed faith in the unit's ability to accomplish the mission ahead.

"Soldiers and Families of the Alpha Company, the Army has entrusted you with a noteworthy mission," said Baer. "I know the caliber of those that stand before me and I have the utmost confidence in your ability to succeed in every endeavor that lies ahead of you."


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