JOINT BASE CAPE COD, Mass.
– Friends, family, colleagues, and state officials gathered in a hangar at Camp Edwards here Wednesday to wish farewell and good luck to five Soldiers of Operational Support Airlift Command’s Detachment 12, who are deploying to Afghanistan in support of Task Force ODIN.
Task Force ODIN is an Army Aviation effort to observe, detect, identify and neutralize enemy forces, including those that may be placing improvised explosive devices. The task force formed during the Army’s days in Iraq but has since been moved to Afghanistan.
“Today we carry on a 376-year-old tradition that began ages ago,” said Brig. Gen. Paul G. Smith, Land Component Commander, Massachusetts National Guard, as he addressed the deploying Soldiers. “The mission you are about to embark on is one of critical importance to our forces. Your over-flight intelligence will undoubtedly save lives. Nothing could be noble in the call of duty than to save the lives of our colleagues and brothers in arms.”
“The Soldiers of Det. 12 are ready for this mission,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Joseph LeBlanc, commander, OSACOM Det. 12, as he addressed the well wishers, which included Smith, Brig. Gen. Gary W. Keefe, Air Component Command Commander, Massachusetts National Guard; and State Rep. Randy Hunt, Fifth Barnstable District of Massachusetts.
The deploying commander took time to address the families of the departing Soldiers and assure them that their Soldiers will be taken care of. “The hardest part of any deployment is not so much what we have to do, it’s what our families have to deal with while we’re away. We look forward to a successful completion of our mission and a safe return home to Massachusetts.”
“Please understand that you are part of our Massachusetts National Guard family,” Smith said as he addressed the families of the departing Soldiers. “We are here to support you.”
“We’re tremendously proud of you for carrying on a 376 year old Minuteman tradition,” said Smith to the deploying aviators. “I wish you good luck, God speed, and we’ll see you here again soon.”