GREGG K. KAKESAKO / GKAKESAKO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Sgt. Martin Thomasgarcia, left, reviewed his medical records yesterday at Fort Shafter Flats with Maj. Rida Cabanilla, also a state representative, as Sgt. Willie Dejean and Pfc. Tristan Aldeguer stood in line. They are all members of the Pacific Army Reserve's 456th Replacement Detachment, which will report to Schofield Barracks on Monday to begin a year of active duty.
Reserve unit will head to Kuwait
A 38-member Army unit will assist with lodging operations
Thirty-eight Hawaii Army reservists, seven of whom have previously been on active duty in the Middle East war zone, will be deployed to Kuwait for a year.
The 456th Replacement Detachment will report to Schofield Barracks on Monday for two months of deployment training before leaving.
Four of the reservists have already been to Iraq, two to Afghanistan with the 25th Infantry Division and one to Kuwait, said Capt. Chris Iseri, who has commanded the 456th since April 1, 2005.
Sgt. Martin Thomasgarcia, 25, served in Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Pacific Army Reserve's 411th Combat Engineer Battalion. He volunteered to go on active duty because the 456th was short of supply personnel specialists.
Sgt. Willie Dejean, 24, deployed to Iraq with the 25th Infantry Division two years ago. He left the Army three months ago and enlisted in the Army Reserve to complete his military obligation.
A cook with the Headquarters & Headquarters Company with the 25th Division's 1st Battalion, 21st Infantry Division, Dejean never expected that his Army Reserve unit would be activated.
"It doesn't matter to me," said Dejean, who has served in the Army for six years. "I am not upset. It's just kind of the luck of the draw.
"Maybe this time I will do what I was trained to do, and that is to be a cook. When I was in Iraq, I never did that, but I did a lot of patrolling. I spent most of my time pulling patrol duty."
Thomasgarcia, who is a student at Hawaii Pacific University while also working as a laborer apprentice, said he served as an armored gunner in Baghdad, Iraq, during his first combat tour with the 411th Engineers.
"Hopefully, this time I will be doing what I was trained to do," said Thomasgarcia, who has been an Army reservist for seven years.
His parents were not enthused about his decision to volunteer, but after he explained that his second active-duty mission would be in Kuwait, "that smoothed them over since they knew I wasn't going to be in a hostile area."
Thomasgarcia, 23, also has a 7-year-old daughter who he believes understands why he volunteered to go overseas for a second time.
"She understands that her dad is in the military fighting for her to better our lives, strengthen our families," he added.
Iseri, a 1987 Pearl City High School graduate, said the 18 females and 20 males in his unit will manage the billeting operations in Kuwait, involving 3,000 beds in 210 tents.
"Our mission will be to house and take care of the soldiers who will live there before going and returning from R&R (rest and recuperation)," said Iseri, who graduated from the University of Hawaii in 2000.
"All the soldiers that go on R&R," said Iseri, "will have to be processed through Kuwait before leaving and again go through us after coming back from leave."
Iseri's detachment will be stationed at Camp Ali al Salem in Kuwait.
The Army Reserve said another 120 soldiers belonging to the 657th Area Support Group from Hawaii will be mobilized for duty at Logistical Support Area Anaconda near Baghdad.