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Press Release
October 13, 2007
Pendleton Soldier Deployed to Iraq
Story and Photographs by Senior Airman John Hughel

The Oregon Army National Guard mobilized 14 soldiers today for duty at Camp Anaconda, Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Specialist Jed Ball from Pendleton, Oregon is one of the soldiers from Alpha Company, 641st Army Aviation Battalion stationed at Portland Air National Guard Base. This is the soldier's second deployment to the Middle East in the last four years.

He is a helicopter and flight engineer working on C-23 Sherpa aircraft that transport troops and cargo to support operational missions on the ground.

Specialist Ball was first deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom two years ago and is both excited and apprehensive about this deployment.

When not in uniform, Specialist Ball works as a maintenance technician for Chinook Helicopter in Pendleton, Oregon. During the six month deployment he hopes to build his skills as a C-23 technician while serving his country.

"I am looking forward to this mission but my family will be on my mind while I am gone", said Ball. Military service is a hallmark of the Ball Family as one of his two brothers served in the Marine Corps. He has a younger sister who is worried about her brother being gone for the next half year. "It makes serving much easier knowing that the support of my family and unit are there for me", said Ball.

Before he deploys to Iraq, Specialist Ball will be promoted to the rank of Sergeant as his leadership and technical experience have earned him the trust of his leaders that will be deploying with him to Iraq.

The 641st will join other National Guard units from South Dakota, Oklahoma and Washington State to make up the entire Battalion at Camp Anaconda in Iraq.

The 641st has just moved to the Portland Air National Guard Base from Salem, Oregon earlier this year. The C-23 Sherpa is the primary aircraft for the 641st but the C-27 Spartan is scheduled to replace the Sherpa models in the next several
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