Weepy goodbyes characterized a going-away ceremony Friday morning for the Army Reserve’s Logistics Civil Augmentation Program Support Unit as its members departed for deployments all over the world.
The LOGCAP Support Unit is comprised of a group of soldiers who serve as liaisons between other soldiers and the civilian contractors that provide infrastructure for the Army in combat areas abroad.
After an initial transfer to Fort Eustis near Newport News, members will be deployed to 11 locations throughout the world.
The ceremony at Fort Belvoir’s Mosby Reserve Center began with a pep talk by Col. Frances B. Tavenner, unit commander. His unit is probably the most prepared one that will show up, he said.
The soldiers were allowed to leave wearing civilian clothes. One of the reasons he allowed it, Tavenner said, was to remind everyone that they were citizen soldiers — the office workers, neighbors and friends of all other people.
“Look around and remember that we are all citizen soldiers,” he said.
Relatives said goodbye to each other after the conclusion of his remarks.
“Without your support, we can’t do the job we do,” he said to the soldiers’ families.
Mary Elizabeth Ormsby, who said she is 21/2 going on 4, was seeing her Uncle Tommy off. Annie Ormsby, Mary’s mother and Tommy’s big sister, said her daughter was excited because each time her uncle goes away, he brings back toys and surprises.
Mary, of Springfield, was jumping up and down wearing an American flag sweater shouting, “Uncle Tommy, Uncle Tommy,” before the ceremony.
Many other people were crying and embraced for long periods of time before all of the soldiers got on the bus for the ride to Fort Eustis.
Jeff and Laura Halick, 34 and 33 respectively, were hugging while holding their 6-month-old daughter, Diana, who was crying. Diana was also wearing an American flag sweater.
Tony Ford, a 42-year-old major, said goodbye to his wife, Melissa, and two children, Kevin, 15, and Kelly, 13. Ford unwittingly got on the bus with his wife’s car keys.
The unit will be mobilized for a year, but members will be deployed for only a portion of that time.
Staff writer Daniel Drew can be reached at (703) 878-8065.