January 10, 2005

183rd bids farewell to family and friends

By Sgt. First Class Michael Hampton
GuardPost Staff Writer

The 183rd Personnel Service Detachment (PSD) of the Virginia Army National Guard said goodbye to over 200 family members and friends during their mobilization departure ceremony held on December 14, 2004 at their home station in Richmond Virginia. The 183rd was ordered to active federal service on December 11, 2004 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. However, since receiving their warning order in April 2004, the 183rd has been gearing up for their impending deployment.

In May 2004, the 183rd conducted their initial Soldier readiness processing. Then in June, they began the first phase of their pre-mobilization training at Fort Pickett that included live fire on various weapon systems. Soldiers of the 183rd also received land navigation, combat lifesaver and field survival training.

The ceremony gave Soldiers and families the opportunity to commemorate the important roles that they both play in the defense and freedom of our nation and recognized the sacrifices that Soldiers and families make when deployments occur.

Spc. Tanya Coppage of the 183rd understands this very well. As a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University she was within months of graduation but feels the needs of the many often outweigh those of the few. “I was looking forward to graduation in May,” she said, “but when I think about the work that we are called to do as Soldiers, there was never any question of what it was that I needed to do.”

Capt. Robin Branch, the 183rd Commander is encouraged by the level of commitment of her Soldiers, many of whom are in college. “As a commander, it is encouraging to know that your Soldiers not only understand their mission, but accept it as reasonable service,” she said. “There are always those that have to be brought along, and they will, but overall I’m really proud of my Soldiers.”

The ceremony culminated as the Soldiers of the 183rd boarded their buses headed for their mobilization station in Fort Bragg North Carolina where they will spend several months before deploying to their final destination.

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