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By Sgt. Nasir Stoner,
133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
The 176th Firefighting Team is preparing to deploy to Romania in the next few weeks at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., May 14.
The unit is deploying to conduct fire protection on an air base there.
The 176th FFT is made up of seven Soldiers led by Staff Sgt. Matthew Martin, Station Chief. This will be the first deployment for all seven Soldiers.
“We are very excited as this is our first deployment for everyone,” said Martin. “We’re glad to get to go to Romania and do our job.”
“The 176th are our best trained firefighters in the state,” said Lt. Col. Mark Nichols, 206th Engineer Battalion Commander. “We have full confidence in them going overseas and doing a great job and accomplishing their mission.”
Due to the ongoing global pandemic caused by COVID-19, the Guard did not hold a departure ceremony like usual. However, they do hope to have a ceremony for their return.
“I’m sure it is hard for them to not get to experience a departure ceremony on their first deployment,” said Nichols. “I hope we can pay them back and have double the warm welcome when they come back so they get to experience the love and support of the community.”
Despite the pandemic creating some obstacles and recent changes, the Soldiers feel they are well prepared for the deployment.
“I feel like it’s going to be a good deployment,” said Sgt. Travis Keown, crew chief. “We have a really good group of guys who are efficient at their jobs and always willing to do work.”