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Press Release
September 04, 2007
Deploying Oregon Guard unit's "final exam" nearly complete (234 Engineer Co.)
 
The Oregon Army National Guard's 234th Engineer Company departed Oregon July 13 for Camp Shelby, Miss. to train for their deployment to Iraq to conduct convoy security. On Sept. 5, their training will complete and the unit certified ready-to-go for Iraq.

"We have a good unit, we want to go," said Pfc. Bessie Mort of Astoria, Ore., whose sister is also a part of the unit. "It's a little hectic, but everyone's ready."

The two months of intensive field training included exercises in convoy operations, how to react to and prepare for improvised explosive devices, weapons use and maintenance, combat medicine, and much more. Soldiers rarely had a day off, working morning until night and every weekend.

This week the unit is completing their culmination exercise, said company commander Maj. Jeff Brown of Keizer. This sort of exercise puts together all the training into a few days of intensive evaluation, a final exam of sorts, to verify that the unit has been properly and sufficiently trained.

"The unit is performing very well," said Brown. "Based on their performance over the past few days, these Soldiers are going to do a great job."

The 234 Engineer Co. is based in Warrenton, Ore. at Camp Rilea. The deploying unit is composed almost exclusively of Soldiers who volunteered for the Iraq tour. "I volunteered for this deployment so I could grow as a Soldier and be a stronger Soldier," said Pfc. Danielle Poindexter, a gunner on a truck-mounted machine gun, adding that she sought the opportunity to gain experience. The unit is scheduled to return sometime around Aug. 2008.



Photos:
 
Courtesy US Army photos by 1st Lt. Victor Hoffer

234 EN Co at Camp Shelby released 02.jpg & 234 EN Co at Camp Shelby released 03.jpg
Pfc. Danielle Poindexter of Albany, Ore. keeps watch during final convoy training Tuesday at Camp Shelby. Poindexter, who volunteered for this deployment, is ordinarily a supply Soldier, but during this deployment has taken on the role of being in a gun turret. "You have a lot of adrenaline, and it's something that I never would [otherwise] be able to do," said Poindexter. "When I first joined the Army I never imagined myself being behind a gunner's turret."

234 EN Co at Camp Shelby released 04.jpg
Specialist Christopher Seely of Portland, Ore. – who volunteered for this deployment a little over a month after returning from Afghanistan – looks to the convoy's front and side during a stop for a simulated IED. While designated Soldiers dismount and investigate as necessary, others keep a watch forward and beyond the sides of the road, insuring total protection of the convoy and the convoy's defenders. Training at Camp Shelby is realistic and full-speed, with explosive simulators, blank ammunitions, and surprises at each mission to keep Soldiers sharp and prepared for whatever they may face in Iraq.

234 EN Co at Camp Shelby released 05.jpg
Included in the training is both off-road and on-road travel, just as the in-country mission will be. The 234 Engineer Co. will escort convoys throughout the country to insure that needed supplies reach their intended destinations safely. In order to prepare for this mission, they have completed nearly two months of intensive – usually six or even seven days a week – training and simulations.
 
 
Contact Info:  
 
1LT Victor Hoffer
Deputy Public Affairs Officer
Oregon National Guard
ONSITE: 503-956-3244 (24/7) (phone preferred)