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Combat Engineer Battalion once again deploys as a whole

22 Apr 2009 | Lance Cpl. Daniel A. Blatter

First Combat Engineer Battalion continues to prepare for their deployment to Afghanistan.

“The mission is to help our Marines be able to move around in the battlefield,” said Lt. Col. Michael Callanan, commanding officer, CEB. “It’s going to take a lot of attacking the impovised explosive device network.”

“Afghans are skilled fighters,” added Callanan, 38, from Belmont, Mass. “Our goal is to take the initiative back from the enemy.”

The objective is to eliminate the threat of IEDs and allow Marines the freedom to maneuver around the battlefield without the threat of getting blown up.

Many Marines have received IED-related injuries, said 1st Lt. Matthew C. Frick, the battalion adjutant, 1st CEB. “However, our battalion is very well prepared in attacking that area.”

The past three months have been filled with pre-deployment training for the battalion. They have participated in numerous training events both at Marine Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms and Camp Pendleton, Calif.

“We have participated in convoy live-fire training, fire-and-maneuver training, along with many other training activities,” said Staff Sgt. Randy C. Jaekel, battalion motor transport chief with Delta Company, Platoon 1.

“In the past, companies or platoons would deploy,” added Jaekel, 27, from Lincoln, Mo. “But, this is the battalion’s first time deploying as a whole since 2003.”

This deployment will be larger and will consist of more than 400 combat engineer Marines.

“I think it’s a much better idea sending us as a whole rather than breaking us up,” said Frick, 25, from St. Charles, Mo.

Not only are deployments hard on Marines, but they are also hard on the families and friends of Marines. Mothers, wives, fathers, and children often go long periods of time without seeing their Marine.

“I’ve been working with family readiness for the past 11 years and I’ve never seen the type of support the battalion has been giving each other and their families,” said Shantel Zadrozny, the family readiness officer for 1st CEB.

“The cooperation and support from our battalion and their families have been tremendous,” said Callanan. “They have been largely understanding and supportive.”

“We’re excited about getting our Marines out there with their ‘A’ game,” said Callanan. “I’m proud of them and I’m confident our work will pay off.”

For more information on the 1st CEB deployment, or for information on family services, email Zadrozny at shantel.zadrozny@usmc.mil.