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U.S. Fishand Wildlife Service Family Supports Biologist Heading to Iraq.
Midwest Region, November 11, 2009
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Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office's Jeff Finley poses with his new work vehicle. The Army Reserve Captain Finley's Preventative Medicine Unit is serving a 1-year rotation in Iraq. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo)
Columbia Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office's Jeff Finley poses with his new work vehicle. The Army Reserve Captain Finley's Preventative Medicine Unit is serving a 1-year rotation in Iraq. (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service photo) - Photo Credit: n/a

Columbia Fish & Wildlife Conservation Office and Big Muddy National Fish & Wildlife Refuge staff members rallied to support Fish Biologist Jeff Finley in his Army deployment ceremony. Captain Finley is the commanding officer of the 480th Preventative Medicine Medical Detachment. This Army Reserve unit was called up to serve a year's tour in Iraq. As the commanding officer, Jeff has been working full-time for the Army since May 2009 preparing his unit for deployment.

Throughout the ceremony a slide show played on the wall showing pictures of all the training exercises Jeff's unit had attended over the last year. The diversity of activities was impressive. While the soldiers trained in everything that covered their core mission, they also trained in various weapons and survival skills. The camaraderie the group had developed as they endured the courses was  apparent in these photos. This will be vital to the success of their mission.

The deployment ceremony, much like a graduation, marked the end of the training and the beginning of their journey. Friends and family were present to send their loved ones off on their mission. Guest speakers discussed the history and roles of the unit. They discussed being prepared and the purpose of their departure. The highlight of the ceremoney was when the soldiers in this unit recited the Soldier's Creed.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Jeff and his family as they spend this next year apart. We eagerly await next year when Jeff is able to return to his Service family too.

Jeff's 11 person unit is responsible for ensuring the health of the Army troops and addressing environmental contagions. The unit began in 1943 as a hospital ship platoon and was activated through 1945 out of the New Orleans Port. The unit was moved to the Army Reserves in 1947 and activated until 1952 out of Butte Montana. It was redesignated as a medical detachment in 1992. The unit has run out of Columbia, Missouri since 1998; they were deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom 2004-2005.


Contact Info: Joanne Grady, 573-234-2132 x101, joanne_grady@fws.gov



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