July 18, 2002
The War on Terrorism became up close and personal to the U.S. Army's 9th Theater Support Command Reserve Unit at Fort Belvoir's Mosby USAR Center.
Deployment ceremonies were held July 9, for 46 members who will spend the next year at the Command's headquarters at Camp Zama on the Japanese Island of Okinawa. They were activated on June 11 to strengthen the 9th TSC's logistical support capabilities throughout the western Pacific area.
As the departing soldiers, along with family and friends, assembled at the Center on John Kingman Road, they were praised for their commitment by both military command personnel and local political leaders.
"Since the birth of this nation the citizen soldier has been its main support," said Colonel Michael Means, 9th TSC Deputy Commander. He thanked both families and employers for making the sacrifice along with the departing soldiers.
"In today's world of competing priorities, your support for these soldiers is essential," he told the crowd. He also assured those being deployed that, "Taking care of Army Reserve families is more important today than ever before."
Major General Joseph Ernst emphasized, "The most important thing we can all do is soldier watching out for soldier. Your jobs during this deployment will be meaningful."
Joining the military brass on stage immediately in front of the seated deploying soldiers, who were introduced one by one as they entered the auditorium, were State Senator Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-36), Delegate Thomas M. Bolvin (R-43), and Gerald W. Hyland, Mount Vernon Supervisor and Vice Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
"Soon you will be joining over 60,000 troops deployed around the world in the fight against terrorism. And in this sacrifice you will be missing birthdays, little league games, school functions and all the everyday things that make up our lives," Bolvin said.
AS THE OFFICER in command of the departing unit, Lieutenant Colonel Donald Means of Manassas, noted, "Today we live in troubled times. September 11 has changed this nation forever. But, rest assured, this unit will meet its obligation and the support group we leave behind will be there for our families."
That support group is headed by his wife, Michelle Moore, who joined him on stage to assure the audience, "The support group is here to offer what ever help we can and what ever is called for. It is designed to keep you in touch with the soldiers being deployed and to aid you in your everyday lives."
The reserve element of the 9th TSC is composed of more than 400 personnel, according to Col. Means. The 9th TSC is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Pacific and provides logistical support to units in Japan and the western Pacific area.
"Of the 400 personnel in the reserve unit, 30 are active duty soldiers," Means explained. "A lot of these people work for the military in their civilian jobs. I'm a reservist employed by Raytheon.
"Since the regular army has continued to downsize the role of the reservist has become increasingly critical. That is why it has also become much more important that we take care of the families and employers of the people called to active duty."
MEANS CITED Operation Desert Storm, the action against Iraq, as highlighting "the impact particularly on small companies" of losing key personnel when reservists are activated. "Many went out of business because they lost critical personnel. We don't want that to happen again," he stressed.
Members of the unit come from throughout the East Coast. Those that were called up in this deployment had specific military occupational specialties critical to the mission, according to personnel.
It was pointed out that Operation Enduring Freedom is not limited to Afghanistan, it is a world wide endeavor. "The 9th TSC has a global mission to organize forces for the defense of Japan and the support of contingency operations in the Pacific region," according to its mission statement.
"As the war on terrorism expands into the Pacific region, elements of the 9th TSC are being deployed in support," it was explained. The activation is for an initial period of up to one year. "It can be extended to two years, but we are hoping it will be even less than a year," Means said.