Soldiers from the 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment depart for the Middle East

By: 1st Lt. Zachary Hahn, 103rd Brigade Support Battalion

Maj. Gen Stephen Hogan, Kentucky’s adjutant general, shaking hands with Soldiers of the 613th Engineer Facilities Detachment during their departure ceremony to the Middle East. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

SPRINGFIELD, Ky. — Kentucky National Guard leadership joined friends and family in a departure ceremony to say farewell to the 613th Engineer Facility Detachment today who are scheduled to deploy to the Middle East for the next year.

“The infrastructure you will build up will help stabilize the region. At the same time you are emissaries of war, you are emissaries of peace,” said Maj. Gen. Stephen Hogan, Kentucky’s adjutant general. “I am proud of you.”

The small unit will assume responsibility as the Directorate of Public Works, charged with ensuring the stability of facilities and environment practices on all installations throughout their area of operation. They will provide engineer area support and short and long range facility work plans among other tasks. The Soldiers will work directly for U.S. Army Central Command authority for their duration overseas.

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“You have expertise that is in high demand,” said Col. Alexander Stewart, commander of the 149th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. “Family, I assure you they are ready for the job they’re going to do.”

The unit has already completed extensive pre-mobilization training stateside and in Europe to prepare for the mission. LT. Col. Scott Thomas, the commander of the 613th, is looking forward to the opportunity to get to work and show what his Soldiers can do.

“I am privileged to command this unit for its upcoming mission and very proud of each unit member and how they’ve professionally trained for the assignment,” said Thomas. “We will weather whatever obstacles that come our way, because we have success in our hearts.”

The families of the deploying Soldiers made up the majority of the audience and were featured prominently in the speakers’ remarks. For Leanne Barger, the wife of Maj. John Barger, this is the third time her husband has deployed. She cited communication between families, be it through phone trees or social media, as one thing that can make the time until the Soldiers return a little easier. “I am proud of all our Soldiers deploying.”

The 613th last deployed in 2012 to Afghanistan where they trained and advised Afghan National Army Engineers in facility sustainment and assisted in the transition of more than 2,800 facilities to the supervision of the Afghan Army.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the Kentucky National Guard has mobilized more than 18,000 Soldiers and Airmen in support of the Global War on Terror.