January 10, 2005
DPU recognizes Soldiers and families
By Capt. Lesley Kipling
With so many National Guard Soldiers deployed overseas, being able to spend the holidays with family and friends is not something that the Soldiers of Virginia’s Data Processing Unit take for granted. In December over 230, Soldiers and family members of the DPU gathered together at Battlefield High School to celebrate the holiday season and recognize the Soldiers who had deployed over the past year.
“We’re here today to honor seven members of this unit for their service when called upon by their nation,” said Brig. Gen. John E. Sayers, Jr. addressing the unit. Those Soldiers received the Freedom Salute award for their service in Iraq.
“It is designed to publicly acknowledge our Army Guard Soldiers as well as those who’ve supported them during the recent Military Operations Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Powell.
The seven DPU Soldiers were mobilized in 2002 with the mission of establishing the Regional Computer Emergency Response Team-Southwest Asia, a mission the active duty Army did not expect to complete until 2005. The knowledge, skills and expertise of these Guard Soldiers enabled the Army to establish the RCERTE-SWA nearly two years ahead of schedule.
The Soldiers were Maj. Randall Cudworth, Capt. Christopher Rush, Chief Warrant Officer Martin Fontanez, Chief Warrant Officer Ray Cook, Jr., Sgt. First Class Irwin Walters, Staff Sgt. Seace Wendell, and Staff Sgt. Christian Smith.
Master Sgt. Adam Rice also received the Freedom Salute award for his deployment to Afghanistan with the Special Forces.
The Soldiers received a folded flag in a wooden display case, a coin and a certificate.
The engraving on the flag reads, “ This flag is presented to a true American Hero in recognition for your service and sacrifice in the cause of freedom. Your service will never be forgotten. From the grateful people of this nation.”
“The Virginia Guard has two parts. We have our Soldiers and we have the families,” said Brig. Gen. Sayers explaining the key role family members play in their Soldier’s success. “You give much when you give us away,” said Sayers.
Spouses received Freedom Salute lapel pins and children received “Future Soldier Kits,” with board games and comic books.