It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
More than 150 people helped send off 5 members of the 935th Aviation Support Battalion at a deployment ceremony this afternoon in Springfield. The soldiers are members of the Missouri National Guard...They'll leave next week for Fort Hood, Texas where they'll join the 36th combat aviation brigade and head to Iraq in July. Here are the thoughts of one soldier from the 935th Aviation Support Battalion as he prepares for this deployment...It will be his first to Iraq.
Shelton: More than 150 people helped send off 5 members of the 935th Aviation Support Battalion at a deployment ceremony this afternoon in Springfield. The soldiers are members of the Missouri National Guard...They'll leave next week for Fort Hood, Texas where they'll join the 36th combat aviation brigade and head to Iraq in July. Here are the thoughts of one soldier from the 935th Aviation Support Battalion as he prepares for this deployment...It will be his first to Iraq.
Martin: I'm John Martin, E-4 Specialist. I specialize in aviation supply. I'll be working as a supply clerk in ordering parts for the maintenance department. I grew up in Springfield. I graduated in 92 from Glendale. This is my second year in the National Guard. I was active duty in the Navy Reserves and then I changed over for some actions. I've been wanting to for a long time. I'm 31 and I've always been the type of person who wanted to experience as much as I could and the life I have. This is an opportunity to do what I've been trained to do and be able to experience places I've never been. There's some serious history in the Middle East, beyond what we're doing there and to help people. I have four children so it's a big deal to me to be part of something that's doing something for the children in that area.
Shelton: And speaking of children, Specialist Martin will be leaving behind his wife and four children...
Martin: My oldest is 12. My son's 10 and then I've got two more girls that are six and four. So I've got three girls and one boy.
Shelton: Leaving his children is what makes this mission particular challenging for Specialist Martin
Martin: That's the difficult part. The amazing thing now that's different from when I was active Navy is the way there's communication avenues that weren't available in 1993. Email...There was only a landsat phone we could use or telegram. Now, there's so many ways to get in touch with people at home. They've done as much as they can without actually have a physical person here. They'll be able to see me cause I'm bringing a cam with me. I'll be able to see them. My wife's got the digital camera. We're hoping to keep in touch daily. My two oldest are more apprehensive about it. My six year old came to the conclusion last night that I was going to be gone and she didn't appreciate that too much. My oldest...It's a big deal to her...she's getting to be a teenager. I'll miss some birthdays so there's some apprehension there. But they're proud that their dad is a soldier and that he's doing his duty. They're really into it. My son is definitely into it. It's pretty cool. He's excited.
Shelton: With reports of insurgent attacks on U-S soldiers, John Martin says he's not nervous but will remain aware at all times.
Martin: You always have to stay aware of what's going on around you. From what I've heard from other people who have gone, it's not something you can take lightly...you always have to be conscious of where you're at and who you're with. You really rely on your fellow soldiers to watch your back and your job is to watch their back. There's a real comraderie that's built between everybody that goes. When you get back, they're inseparable. You have built some great friendships from having to rely on each other.
Shelton: For those who wish to show their support for the troops, Martin says he urges the public to take care of the families who have loved ones serving overseas.
Martin: If you know you have a neighbor that might be the wife or spouse of a national guard person, drop by and see if they need help, especially ones with children. There are a lot of times when wives or husbands are thrust into a situation where now they're the only parent. You've got four kids in my case that can just drive them nuts. Whatever you can do to help...a lot of it is being more concerned about the people we leave behind than ourselves...
Shelton: Again, the was Specialist John Martin, a National Guard soldier from Springfield whose battalion is headed to Texas next week and to Iraq in July.