529th CSSB Soldiers depart for federal duty in Kuwait

Senior Virginia Guard leaders join state leaders, family members, friends and fellow Soldiers to bid farewell to Soldiers of the Camp Pendleton-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. Approximately 70 Soldiers of the 529th are scheduled to report to Fort Hood, Texas, for 30 to 45 days of mobilization training before deploying to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Senior Virginia Guard leaders join state leaders, family members, friends and fellow Soldiers to bid farewell to Soldiers of the Camp Pendleton-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. Approximately 70 Soldiers of the 529th are scheduled to report to Fort Hood, Texas, for 30 to 45 days of mobilization training before deploying to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

VIRGINIA BEACH—Family members, friends, fellow Soldiers and senior state government and military leaders bid farewell to the Virginia National Guard’s Camp Pendleton-based 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 329th Regional Support Group June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. Approximately 70 Soldiers of the 529th are scheduled to report to Fort Hood, Texas, for 30 to 45 days of mobilization training before deploying to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Governor Terry McAuliffe, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran, Del. Scott Taylor, R-Virginia Beach, and Brig. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, attended the departure ceremony at Birdneck Elementary School along with other state and military leaders.

Once they arrive in Kuwait, the Soldiers of the 529th CSSB are scheduled to operate as a mission command headquarters with the task of planning and executing combat sustainment support for U.S. and coalition forces in Kuwait and the surrounding region.

Family members say goodbye to Soldiers of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at their departure ceremony June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. After 30 to 45 days of mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, the will deploy to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Soldiers are expected to spend up to 12 months on federal active duty. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Family members say goodbye to Soldiers of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion at their departure ceremony June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. After 30 to 45 days of mobilization training at Fort Hood, Texas, the will deploy to Kuwait in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The Soldiers are expected to spend up to 12 months on federal active duty. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The Soldiers are expected to spend up to 12 months on federal active duty.

“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your service and dedication,” McAuliffe said. “We will do our part at the government level to take care of you since you are doing your part to take care of us. Thank you. We are so proud of you. You make our nation proud and you make the Commonwealth of Virginia proud.”

“We are all very, very proud of you and your families for your commitment to the United States, to Virginia and to the man on your left and the woman on your right,” Taylor said. “Trust your training, trust your chain of command, be ready to lead and be ready to follow.”

“I see a lot of faces I’ve known since I came into the National Guard,” Williams said. “I know you. I trust you. I know the training you’ve been through. You’re the best team to go into this place at the right time. Just know that we are proud of you and we have your back. We’re looking out for your families and if you need anything, we’re here for you.”

“While it’s always difficult for Soldiers, families and employers to go through such a major life changing event like a deployment, we’re excited and we’re ready for the mission,” said Lt. Col. Michael Waterman, commander of the 529th CSSB. “Unlike a lot of previous deployments, we’ve had a lot of time to prepare. As a result, we’re well trained, motivated and ready.”

Waterman thanked the friends, family support groups and family assistance centers that are part of the 529th family.

“The care of our families will always be foremost in our minds and with the support network here, we’ll all rest a little easier which allows us to focus on the mission at hand,” he said.

Waterman then thanked his Soldiers’ families for their support and dedication.

“We thank you for the sacrifices you’ve made,” he said. “You have a very hard job but we’re all in this together and we can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done.”

Soldiers from the Clifton Forge-based 29th Division Band provided music for the departure ceremony, cadets from the Camp Pendleton-based Commonwealth ChalleNGe program provided the color guard and members of the Virginia Defense Force volunteered their time to assist with parking.

Most of the Soldiers in the unit are from the Hampton Roads area. About 10 Soldiers are from the Richmond area, approximately 10 are from the Southwest Virginia area, and about 5 are from the Northern Virginia area.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says goodbye to Lt. Col. Michael Waterman, commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. McAuliffe was among a handful of state and senior military leaders on hand to bid farewell to the 70 Soldiers as they deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe says goodbye to Lt. Col. Michael Waterman, commander of the 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion June 22, 2014, in Virginia Beach. McAuliffe was among a handful of state and senior military leaders on hand to bid farewell to the 70 Soldiers as they deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. (Photo by Master Sgt. A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

The Soldiers received their mobilization order in November 2013. The situation in Kuwait is constantly changing, Waterman explained in March as the unit was conducting final training and preparation for the deployment. The unit is expected to be responsible for providing mission command over several Army sustainment units as well as oversight and execution of multiple contracts.

“Some of our missions will be to provide control over distribution throughout Kuwait, management of a multi-class Supply Support Activity warehouse, two ammunition storage and distribution facilities, rigger operations and movement control operations,” Waterman said.

The mission should provide to be challenging, diverse and exciting, he said.

“We’re excited to see how our training and preparation pays off in a true sustainment mission,” Waterman said. “With a combination of more than 250 Soldiers and approximately 600-800 contractors within the battalion in Kuwait, we’ll be busy but we have a smart, motivated and trained staff to excel.”

The 529th was formed in December 2006 and is under the command of the Virginia Beach-based 329th Regional Support Group. While in Virginia, the 529th has command and control of the Virginia Beach-based 229th Military Police Company, the Emporia-based 1710th Transportation Company and the Blackstone-based 3647th Maintenance Company. A rear detachment element for the 529th will remain in place to provide command and control for those units.

This is the second deployment for the 529th. The unit previously deployed in March 2010, when it operated from the remote forward operating base at Shindand Air Base in Afghanistan. While there it pioneered logistical support operations as the first U.S. combat support battalion in the area to conduct operations. The battalion was responsible for building an expeditionary life support complex and infrastructure for the entire airbase while providing seamless sustainment operations for supported units as well as helping improve quality of life and promoting economic development in local Afghan communities.

Photos: 529th CSSB Soldiers depart for federal duty in Kuwait – June 22, 2014