250th Deploys To Italy
By Sgt. Beth Matsoukis, 250th Forward Support Battalion

Soldiers from B Company, 250th Forward Support Battalion recently returned from a successful deployment in Italy. The unit spent three weeks on active duty in support of the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force (SETAF) based out of Livorno and Vicenza.

B Company deployed 44 soldiers to Caserma Ederle outside Vicenza, and seven soldiers to Camp Darby at Livorno. For 21 days, soldiers served in a variety of combat service support functions at those installations.

"The purpose of the deployment is to meet the requirements of the active component while enhancing the Mission Essential Task List - based skills of the reserve component," observed Lt. Col. William Roy, Army National Guard Advisor to SETAF.

"These exercises are an important part of a unit’s training plan to not only practice the skills that we may need in a field environment, but also to get a first hand feel for how we as a guard unit would be assimilated to theactive component if it ever became necessary," stated Capt. Timothy Metcalf, Company Commander, B Company, 250th FSB.

The unit also had soldiers serving in logistical and administrative support positions across the installations. "We had soldiers assisting with a change of command inventory, issuing field gear, processing personnel actions, updating computer equipment, and serving food in the dining facility," said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Shipos, Acting 1st Sergeant, B Company, 250th FSB. "Some soldiers even rotated through several jobs during our deployment. Wherever they needed extra assistance, we were there." Two members of the unit also gave instruction to active duty soldiers. Staff Sgt. Michael Delaney and his assistant instructor Sgt. Matthew Lacko gave a class on power generation equipment to two units assigned to Vicenza.

The SETAF is an airborne rapid reaction force and Joint Task Force headquarters. Its units are constantly on the move, participating in mobilization exercises throughout NATO leaving little time to catch up maintenance.

Bravo Company mechanics spent their days repairinga wide variety of military equipment. Many of the units assigned to those bases had recently returned from a mobilization exercise. "Before B Company’s arrival, the 173rd Airborne had just returned from an exercise in Germany. Much of their equipment needed repair, but they lacked the manpower to bring things up to speed. B Company’s actions increased the Brigade's readiness level," said Lt. Col. Roy. "We even briefed it to the commanding general."

"The National Guard’s strengths are long term expertise in almost any given MOS and the ability to adapt to new environments," said Capt. Metcalf. "Together we are not so much an "Army of One," but one Army, ready to stand together to accomplish any mission."