Some photos that I took during the early part of packing up and heading out and early days at Fort Bliss, Texas 2003.
It’s been almost 10 years from the time I returned from deployment with the 1404th Transportation Company (PLS) from the Arizona Army National Guard. I finally figured I would share some memories as part of articles for Trek to the Troops website. I was a young Private E-2 when 1404th TC was called up for deployment in support of the pending invasion of Iraq early 2003. Let’s start from the beginning. I was a member of 1404th TC sister unit the 2220th TC based in Prescott, Arizona and was training to help set up the 158th Quarter Master Detachment (Water Purification) which was pending to be set up and the soldiers selected to take part in the training to be a Water Purification Specialist. November 2002 I was called to help with temporary orders at Camp Navajo which is outside of Flagstaff Arizona. I was helping cooking for the troops who were going to possible deployment per-medical evaluations. 1404th TC soldiers were part of this medical checks, I was asked by the Battalions’ S-1 officer since I am a 92Y as my Primary MOS would I be interested and willing to transfer to another unit who is in need of a Supply Specialist. At first I wasn’t sure but I did agree and joined the 1404th through the medical checks and exams and started meeting with the unit to prep for deploying with them. I really didn’t know anyone in the unit at that time and only had a weekend or two meeting and prepping for deployment before the unit was called into Active Duty Status January 27th 2003.
We left 3 days later from Show Low, Arizona Armory with fan fair from family members and members of the local community. Many of the fellow soldiers were part of three different Native American Tribes Navajo, Hopi, and Apache, representatives of the tribes were there to also give us a proper send off. We had a bag lunch which was prepared by some catered group to take along with us (Remember this part of the story for later) we took off in three convoys and headed out to El Paso, Texas to Fort Bliss. We made rest breaks and had our lunch that was packed away for us and a tasty Potato and egg salad, and we continued to drive straight through and ended up getting there late that evening. We settled into barracks that were assigned to us when we arrived.
Then the next morning several soldiers were getting sick and vomiting a epidemic had hit 1404th TC soldiers. We then realized some of us got foot poisoning from our lunch that was in the trucks with us during the trip and even in January the heat caused the mayo to go bad and caused 1404th TC soldiers to be sick to their stomach. We even joked through this that it could have been a terrorist plot to keep the 1404th TC soldiers out of the pending war. We Soldiered on and started with getting issued our Desert Issue Uniforms and going through the various Army Training to prep us for the pending deployment we were one of the first Army National Guard Units to be called to Active Duty to deploy through Fort Bliss for the pending war in Iraq.