By Chris Day
STILLWATER, Okla. —
Pvt. Richard Schmidt is prepared to serve his country, and excited about his unit’s deployment to Afghanistan.
“I actually think it’s a pretty cool thing. I am fresh out of basic and AIT (Advanced Individual Training). It’s an honor to be able to go out there and serve your country. You got out there do your job and do the best you can,” Schmidt said.
The Hennessey resident is one of 20 soldiers in the 327th Transportation Detachment that will be deployed to Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in March. Their nine-month mission will be controlling the movement of cargo throughout Afghanistan.
The detachment, comprised of soldiers from the Stillwater area, Texas and New Mexico, will soon leave for Fort Hood, Texas, where they will make final preparations for their Afghanistan mission, First Lt. Anton Bruelhart said. A deployment ceremony was held Saturday afternoon at the Stillwater Elks Lodge.
Schmidt continued his tradition of singing the national anthem at military ceremonies. He sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the graduation of his basic training class and Saturday’s deployment.
“I learned to sing the national anthem when I was a lot younger — probably about 10 or 11,” he said. “I also sung it before high school football games.”
Schmidt said he loves to sing.
Several guest speakers focused on soldiers, family and community during the Saturday’s farewell ceremony.
Retired Maj. Gen. James Sholar urged the detachment to rely on each other during their mission in Afghanistan. He referred to an African proverb that says, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
“I would admonish you to go far and go together,” Sholar said. “You have to rely on your leaders, but you also have to rely on one another. You are going to grow closer together as you leave this place ... and get into country and begin to deal with the challenges of your duties.”