By Spc. Nathan Thome
1st Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 4th Infantry Division
Soldiers assigned to 438th Medical Detachment (Veterinary Service), 10th Combat Support Hospital, held a deployment ceremony at Manhart Field Monday to say goodbye to Family and friends before leaving for Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“This ceremony is signifying the fact that we are deploying and leaving the Families supporting us behind,” said Lt. Col. Howard Gobble, commander, 438th Med. “This unit stood up almost two years ago, and is now going forward to take on the entire veterinary mission of Afghanistan.”
While deployed, the 58 Soldiers will provide comprehensive veterinary services, food safety and defense and stability operations to U.S. and joint coalition forces in Afghanistan.
“We have been practicing and working a lot with the community, universities, Air Force Academy and shelters (to prepare for the deployment),” said Gobble. “We have performed between 25 and 100 surgeries a week on horses, falcons and chickens, so I think we are ready to step up to the challenge.”
The 438th Med. Soldiers trained diligently to prepare for their deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, said Maj. Richard Curtis, rear detachment commander, 10th CSH.
The unit will assume responsibility for setting up six veterinary clinics, strategically placed so they can be easily reached by coalition forces.
The Soldiers will also oversee all food tasks, including safety, security and inspection of the food supply supporting military forces in Afghanistan.
“Soldiers will perform their mission in nearly every province of Afghanistan, and while the 438th Med. Det. is in charge, Afghanistan will know excellence in veterinary services, because these Soldiers are the best in their field,” said Curtis. “They have worked hard and trained hard to become that way.”
The veterinary Soldiers of 438th Med. are slated for a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan.