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Lebanon Army Guard unit heading for Afghanistan

Written by Adam Franz, Lebanon Daily News | May 18, 2015 2:15 PM
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Photo by Michael K. Dakota, Lebanon Daily News

Erik Ortiz kisses his son, Isaah, 6, following a send-off reception Saturday at the Lebanon Readiness Center. Twenty-five soldiers of the 28th Financial Management Support Unit are preparing for deployment to Afghanistan for what is estimated to be a year. It's the unit's 12th deployment since Sept. 11, 2001.

It was fitting for Armed Forces Day.

On Saturday, Lebanon's 828th Financial Management Support Detachment was sent off as part of the nation's Operation Enduring Freedom effort.

In a brief ceremony held at 3 p.m. at the Lebanon Readiness Center, family and friends gathered to say, in the words of unit commanding officer Capt. Michael S. Murphy, not so much a good-bye as a see you later.

Murphy greeted his fellow officers and civilians by apologizing for the heat in the room and joked, "We're acclimating our soldiers for when they go to Afghanistan."

Financial management units don't often get press and have more behind-the-scenes roles in the battle theater. They execute pay operations and family reparations, set up funds and go between bases to execute transactions, among many other duties.

To date, the 28th Finance soldiers have served in various operations including Operation Iraqi Freedom, Enduring Freedom, and Operation New Dawn since September 11, 2001. They've successfully completed 11deployments.

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Photo by Michael K. Dakota, Lebanon Daily News

Friends and family take pictures of some of the 25 soldiers of the 28th Financial Management Support Unit who will soon be deploying to Afghanistan.

Though the 28th has gone overseas 12 times, this will be Murphy's first deployment, and he said he believes he and his soldiers are ready for the challenge.

"This is my first time, but I'm looking forward to it. This is why I signed up," Murphy said. "We have a good group around us with a lot of deployment experience within the unit, so I think I have a good grasp as to what to expect. Obviously, when you get there things will change, but I'm pretty excited for it."

Murphy commended his soldiers and superiors for their skills, expertise and experience.

"I've talked to other commanding officers from previous deployments, and they've given me a rundown of what to expect. I feel confident in myself and my group."

In civilian life, Murphy is a logistics operations manager for Amerigreen, a renewable energy supplier based in Lancaster. He will be leaving a wife and 2-year-old son for the length of the deployment, from nine to 12 months.

Murphy didn't give the names of his immediate family, but he did say they also have a good support group around them with veterans and wives of veterans to help.

As for his son, he admitted the boy did not quite understand what was going on, but he was relieved it was happening at such a young age that the child may forget it.

"We'll Skype and call when we can," he said.

Aside from missing family and friends, Murphy said he'll miss the leisure time of living stateside and being able to hang out wherever with his friends, contrasting it with life on a base.

"On base, there isn't much to do but go to the gym or watch a movie," he said.

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Photo by Michael K. Dakota, Lebanon Daily News

Anhthi Vuong holds his daughter, Jade, 2, at a ceremony honoring the members of the 28th Financial Management Support Unit who will soon be deployed to Afghanistan.


This article comes to us through a partnership between Lebanon Daily News and WITF. 

Published in Carlisle, News

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