The immensity of the 383rd's mission, stateside and overseas, is an incredible contrast to the size of the team: 23 soldiers. Numerically, their accomplishments include coordinating 100 air support missions, moving more than 50,000 soldiers, preparing more than 6,000 pieces of equipment for movement and loading nearly 2,000 rail cars with millions of tons of equipment.
The 383rd Modular Movement Control Team, 88th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, encased its guidon June 11 at 1st MEB Field, symbolizing its deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. Their mission is to conduct logistics for troop support.
The reviewing officer for the event was Lt. Col. Royce A. Edington, commander, 88th BSB, who spoke of the war in Afghanistan and the 383rd's role there.
"On June 7, Operation Enduring Freedom entered its 104th month, making it America's longest war, a war that has often been overshadowed by the efforts in Iraq, but a war that has always been complex and dangerous," said Edington. "As our objectives in Iraq have been achieved, the focus has shifted back to Afghanistan and the 383rd Modular Movement Control Team will play a pivotal role over the next year, ensuring that units and supplies are at the right place at the right time, which, given the terrain, climate and enemy, will be a daunting task."
While home, the 383rd provides logistical support to rotational units at the Joint Readiness Training Center. Numerically, their accomplishments include coordinating 100 air support missions, moving more than 50,000 soldiers, preparing more than 6,000 pieces of equipment for movement and loading nearly 2,000 rail cars with millions of tons of equipment. Overall, this means the 383rd MMCT has a training advantage going into Afghanistan.
"The 383rd does its war time each and every day," said Edington. "It may be small in number, but the unit's contributions certainly are not small."
The immensity of the 383rd's mission, stateside and overseas, is an incredible contrast to the size of the team: 23 soldiers. The 383rd's first sergeant, 1st Sgt. Reuben Cortez Jr., spoke on the dynamic of a group of that size.
"It definitely makes the group tighter," said Cortez.
Shannon Force, wife of Staff Sgt. Samuel Force, is the leader of 383rd's newly formed Family Readiness Group. She said she felt that the size of the unit helped everyone grow closer.
"We are very tight knit," said Force. "A lot of the spouses are my best friends. I've never had better friends than the wives from this unit."
The FRG, besides pursuing the normal functions of an FRG such as being a support group for families and single soldiers, has striven to raise money and create a newsletter from Afghanistan to help the families connect to what the soldiers are doing while away. The soldiers will also stay in touch through the Internet and phone calls.
"Mailing takes too long," said Staff Sgt. Force of the postal service which takes around two weeks for delivery. "By the time they get it, things have changed." Despite connecting with their families through electronic telecommunication, soldiers of the 383rd prepare themselves and their families in ways ranging from the practical to the emotional. Company commander Capt. Corinthia Bowser made sure that everything was lined up for her children following her departure.
"I made sure they enrolled in school," said Bowser. "I got them activities they would do while I am gone so that would take the pressure off them thinking about me. My husband will be with them and my son will be starting Headstart.
"This is our third deployment, so we kind of know what's coming," said Cortez. "We made sure the power of attorney is straight. We already have a plan for finances. As far as support systems go for the kids, they'll visit family during the summer; it will distract them for a bit."
Force talked about how he was preparing his son. "Everyday I'll try to make the time to tell him daddy's going to work," said Force. "When daddy leaves on the plane, you're not going to see daddy again for about a year. The only time you'll be able to hear daddy is when he calls you.' He started putting it together; when he sees me leave in my uniform to go to work at night, he'll ask me if I'm coming home."
"I know the soldiers are ready and willing," said Cortez. "It's going to be difficult to separate from their families, but, because we're so small, we're going to be a family away from our families."