Arizona Guard communications specialists deploy to Africa

Arizona Guard communications specialists deploy to Africa

The Arizona Army National Guard hosted a send-off ceremony for members of Detachment 1, Alpha Company, 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, here Jan. 22. The Soldiers of A, 422nd are deploying to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – their unit’s third deployment since Sept. 11, 2001. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Wes Parrell)

PHOENIX – The Arizona Army National Guard hosted a send-off ceremony for members of Detachment 1, Alpha Company, 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion here Jan. 22.

The Soldiers are deploying to the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Enduring Freedom – their unit’s third deployment since Sept. 11, 2001. During this deployment, the members of the 422nd will provide communications service and support by operating and maintaining strategic and tactical communications on secure and non-secure networks. Their expertise in this area will contribute to the real-time information flow for the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. The detachment will also supplement existing communication detachments within the region to further improve on the communications backbone.

In preparation for this deployment, the Soldiers of Alpha 422nd trained in real-world conditions to be prepared for the demands of their deployed mission. During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. John Hoefert, land component commander of the Arizona Army National Guard, described the Soldiers representing Arizona overseas.

“Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa will be getting some of the best-prepared, well-trained and dependable Soldiers the Arizona Army National Guard has to offer,” Hoefert said.

Army Sgt. 1st Class Jason Richmond, the noncommissioned officer in charge during this deployment, spoke highly of the Soldiers’ dedication to duty and personal sacrifices.

“Each of you has sacrificed your time and spent many hours completing the additional training necessary to prepare for this deployment,” Richmond said. “You have also demonstrated selfless service and personal courage by placing your life, your family, your education and your jobs on hold to answer this call to serve.”

Army Sgt. Eric Haupton, automated data processing security chief, will be deploying for his second time and, although he will be away for the birth of his son in March, his wife, Paula, said she is extremely proud and understands the importance of their sacrifice.

“We are a military family and Arizona natives,” Paula said. “We understand that there will be times that he will be needed, like now, but we have a great support system of family and friends, so he can focus on what he needs to do to come home safely.”

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Arizona National Guard has supported more than 11,000 individual deployments across the globe.