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Guard members say goodbye

CHRISTIANSBURG — Sixty National Guardsmen from Company C of the I-116 Infantry Battalion, left this morning for an extensive two-month training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi before deployment to Iraq.
Pulaski Police Capt. Tony Meredith, a sergeant in the National Guard, who was named employee of the year last December, and Pulaski Police Officer Charles McKnight are among those being deployed.
Camp Shelby, Mississippi is located just 12 miles south of the city of Hattiesburg. It is used by service members all over the United States for training.
The Camp has its origin in 1917 and was used as a training camp for solders ever since World War I and all the wars after that. It was named after Isaac Shelby who was a Revolutionary War Hero. He was also the first Governor of Kentucky.
Camp Shelby is located on more than 134,800 acres. It is the largest state owned and operated training site in the United States. Approximately 100,000 National Guardsman and Reservists go through the Camp each year. They specialize in training for Abrahams M1 Tank, Paladin Howitzers, and are also the home to the 3rd Brigade 87th Division Training Support of Mississippi.
In 2007, the Camp opened a new combat runway and with its 210 acres size, it is touted the second place in the world that is designed to accommodate the Boeing C-17 Globemaster 111, which is an American strategic airlifter, in short field landing operations. The airlifter delivers troops and cargo to bases and to areas of deployment. They also do medical operations and airdrop missions.
“We’ll be working in security to make sure it is where it needs to be in Iraq, but we won’t know exactly what our missions are until we get done with our training,” said Captain Brandon Lindsey, who has command of the 60 men. He gave a short briefing at the National Guard Armory Thursday morning to the men and their families on what to expect “during the difficult times ahead,” and gave instructions on proper procedures to follow, including names of contact departments in the event of emergencies.
Capt. Lindsey says this is his second tour of Iraq and feels no apprehension about going back to Iraq or having intense mental anguish on leaving his family behind. “We are all volunteers; nobody’s forced us to do this and we’re proud to serve our country. There’s so much change (in Iraq) since my first tour there in 2005. Now, we have means to stay in touch with our families,” he stated, mentioning that in addition to e-mail and telephone, both sides can maintain contact via video chats on their laptops or computers, thanks to the Internet.
“Many of our men are going back to Iraq for the third or fourth time,” he said, “so they know about how things go by now.”
The general mood at the Armory was a combination of upbeat and resignation. There was only one woman who dubbed her eyes several times with a handkerchief but she was not even in the Armory or had any connection with the military. She was part of a small support group that had braved the freezing temperatures to assemble outside the Armory for a few minutes. They waved and chanted, “U.S.A… U.S.A… U.S.A…” while carrying a sign that read: “We Support You.” Many of the Guardsmen came outside to get their hugs and well wishes before the band of supporters dispersed.
The troops, their families and friends then lined up for lunch in the Armory.
Capt. Lindsey said that counting their two-month training in Camp Shelby, their entire tour would be around one year before they got rotated back to the U.S.

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Guard members say goodbye

CHRISTIANSBURG — Sixty National Guardsmen from Company C of the I-116 Infantry Battalion, left this morning for an extensive two-month training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi before deployment to Iraq.
Pulaski Police Capt. Tony Meredith, a sergeant in the National Guard, who was named employee of the year last December, and Pulaski Police Officer Charles McKnight are among those being deployed.
Camp Shelby, Mississippi is located just 12 miles south of the city of Hattiesburg. It is used by service members all over the United States for training.
The Camp has its origin in 1917 and was used as a training camp for solders ever since World War I and all the wars after that. It was named after Isaac Shelby who was a Revolutionary War Hero. He was also the first Governor of Kentucky.
Camp Shelby is located on more than 134,800 acres. It is the largest state owned and operated training site in the United States. Approximately 100,000 National Guardsman and Reservists go through the Camp each year. They specialize in training for Abrahams M1 Tank, Paladin Howitzers, and are also the home to the 3rd Brigade 87th Division Training Support of Mississippi.
In 2007, the Camp opened a new combat runway and with its 210 acres size, it is touted the second place in the world that is designed to accommodate the Boeing C-17 Globemaster 111, which is an American strategic airlifter, in short field landing operations. The airlifter delivers troops and cargo to bases and to areas of deployment. They also do medical operations and airdrop missions.
“We’ll be working in security to make sure it is where it needs to be in Iraq, but we won’t know exactly what our missions are until we get done with our training,” said Captain Brandon Lindsey, who has command of the 60 men. He gave a short briefing at the National Guard Armory Thursday morning to the men and their families on what to expect “during the difficult times ahead,” and gave instructions on proper procedures to follow, including names of contact departments in the event of emergencies.
Capt. Lindsey says this is his second tour of Iraq and feels no apprehension about going back to Iraq or having intense mental anguish on leaving his family behind. “We are all volunteers; nobody’s forced us to do this and we’re proud to serve our country. There’s so much change (in Iraq) since my first tour there in 2005. Now, we have means to stay in touch with our families,” he stated, mentioning that in addition to e-mail and telephone, both sides can maintain contact via video chats on their laptops or computers, thanks to the Internet.
“Many of our men are going back to Iraq for the third or fourth time,” he said, “so they know about how things go by now.”
The general mood at the Armory was a combination of upbeat and resignation. There was only one woman who dubbed her eyes several times with a handkerchief but she was not even in the Armory or had any connection with the military. She was part of a small support group that had braved the freezing temperatures to assemble outside the Armory for a few minutes. They waved and chanted, “U.S.A… U.S.A… U.S.A…” while carrying a sign that read: “We Support You.” Many of the Guardsmen came outside to get their hugs and well wishes before the band of supporters dispersed.
The troops, their families and friends then lined up for lunch in the Armory.
Capt. Lindsey said that counting their two-month training in Camp Shelby, their entire tour would be around one year before they got rotated back to the U.S.

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