First Sky Soldiers leave for tour in Afghanistan, rest gear up


Story and photo by Spc. Michael Sword, 173rd ABCT Public Affairs Office

Surrounded by Family, friends and fellow paratroopers, the first wave of Sky Soldiers left the brigade headquarters, deploying early to Afghanistan, Saturday.

As the rest of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team continues final preparations for their deployment to Afghanistan, these six Soldiers will be there first, ensuring the safe arrival of equipment and putting it all in place for the arrival of the remainder of the brigade.

"We're the pallet pushers, to account for all the equipment and make sure all the seals are there and intact." said Sgt. 1st Class Logan McKenzie, the 173rd's noncommissioned officer in charge of movement.

As the Soldiers prepared to board the bus, the 173rd Chaplain (Maj.) Eddie Cook, took time to say a prayer for the departing Soldiers and their families, reminding them that while they may be first to leave, the rest of "The Herd" will soon follow.

"God bless you all and we'll be there shortly," said Cook.

For McKenzie, it is his third deployment and he is used to the early departures. "I'm always going downrange first to receive the equipment and then push it out to our front-line fighters," McKenzie said. "For me, it's an honor."

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