BALTIMORE (WJZ) –When you think “Army Reserve,” you probably don’t associate it with boats. But one local unit serves its missions on the water.
More than 30 soldiers are being deployed to the Middle East, and as Tim Williams explains, they are sailing to their destination in Kuwait.
It is the U.S. Army’s largest powered watercraft, and now Major General Robert Smalls will transport more than 30 troops from Maryland to Kuwait.
Soldiers of the 203rd Transportation Detachment are very unique. They are an Army Reserve unit that serves on a ship.
“Some of the crew have been over to the Middle East on other vessels. Some of them are experienced mariners on the commercial side, but this is the first time a vessel and crew have gone over to perform this mission,” said Brigadier General Peter S. Lennon.
It’s the first time deploying for Sergeant Marlon Marner, who gave his family a tour of the place he’ll make his home for the next year.
“I’m looking forward to meeting new people, going to new places and making new friends. And the most important part… coming back home,” he said.
For many of the soldiers this is their first deployment. But the preparation has not only been theirs, it’s been their families as well.
“I think it’ll be fine. I mean, it’ll be hard with him not here, but with the support system they offer it’ll be fine,” said Marner’s wife, Kimberly.
The logistics support vessel is named for a civil war hero and former slave who later served 5 terms in Congress.
It’s an honor to sail, say those leaving, and a thrill to see it return for families hurrying for it to get back.
Members of the unit are expected to return between nine months and one year from today.