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(Enlarge) Col. Yvette Hopkins, commander of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group, speaks to Soldiers at the group's deployment ceremony held Sept. 28. (Photo courtesy 902nd MI Group)

Service members of the 902nd Military Intelligence Group gathered for a deployment ceremony Sept. 28 at the facility’s courtyard before being released to spend time with family and friends to enjoy some of the comforts of home in advance of their mission in Afghanistan.

Col. Yvette Hopkins, commander of the 902nd MI, addressed the Soldiers, telling them they are "trained and ready" for the mission.

"This is a very serious mission what you are about to do, and you will be phenomenal," she said.

Hopkins stressed the importance of keeping in touch with loved ones back home.

"They will keep you grounded," she said. "We care and want to know what is happening with you."

Hopkins left her business cards on the table and urged the deploying Soliders to take one and let her know if they have any issues.

"You all are part of the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command family," she said.

The group's Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Mathis said the service members have undergone intense training in a very short time.

"This group makes up the premier group of Soldiers in INSCOM, "said Mathis. "This group of Soldiers is very intelligent to be able to grasp the amount of training received in this short time."

Speaking about the mission the Soldiers will face downrange, Hopkins said that it is "really unique."

"This is a team that is in direct response to increased insider threats in Afghanistan," she said.

Hopkins said they are ready for the mission.

"Command Sergeant Major Mark Mathis and I, we certify these Soldiers as trained and ready for the mission," she said. "They are America's best."

Ed Connor, a Department of the Army civilian who works for the 902nd MI Group, thanked the service members for all they do.

"Thank you for protecting my family," he said. "All of you are better than any Super Bowl player or Heisman Trophy winners."

Reflecting on the 902nd MI's commitment to military service, Connor said, "what they do, they do it with a sense of duty, honor and courage. They don't do it for fanfare and fortune but for love of country and their fellow service members."

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