Arkansas Soldiers Gear Up for Deployment
Around 70 Arkansas guardsman left home Friday morning as they prepare for a deployment to Afghanistan.
Friends and family gathered at the National Guard Armory in Clarksville as members of the Alpha Company with the 39th Infantry Brigade’s Special Troops Battalion loaded onto buses and headed for their pre-mobilization training in Camp Shelby, Miss.
“These guys do engineer support aspects,” said Capt. David Cox, with Arkansas National Guard. “They do breaching operations. And demolition range operations. They do equipment moving operations. And that sort of thing in support of the 39th Infantry Brigade. They are the guys that if you need a door blown up, they blow up the door. If you need a house demolished, or a building knocked down, they’re the guys that knock it down. If an infantry guy needs a fox hole, they dig the fox hole.”
In Afghanistan they’ll be responsible for taking over mission command of a group of security forces.
The guardsmen from the Clarksville area will be joined by 10 more in Conway. The group is expected to deploy overseas in a couple of months for a nine month rotation in Afghanistan.
“It’s very hard,” said Kay Hurst, who attended the ceremony today to see her grandson-in-law off. “It’s his first time to be deployed. And he’s newly married – and it’s really hard on him and his wife. All of us really. But we’re just hoping and praying for the best for all of them, to get them back home safely.”
“I love him and I hope he does good,” said Caleb Williams.
Williams’ dad has been deployed to Iraq twice before.
“I’m pretty proud. I just love him. He’s a good dad,” said Williams.
“You know, as a soldier they’re going to get on the bus and have a few moments,” said Capt. Cox. “But as soon as they hit the ground in Shelby – they’re going to get into that soldier mindset. And they’re going to be focused.”
The Alpha Company is expected to return within the year.