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Press Release
May 04, 2009
Oregon Army National Guard soldiers mobilize for Iraq deployment
 
Oregon Military Department – JFHQ PAO
Story and photos by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard bid farewell to family and friends during a mobilization ceremony in Central Point, Ore., May 4.

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, participated in a ceremony to honor the troops mobilizing for a deployment to Iraq and give them a last farewell to family and friends before leaving for mobilization training.

The 41st IBCT, just arriving from training in California, will leave for 60-days of training in Georgia, to prepare the unit for their mission in Iraq.

"This is our pre-deployment ceremony where the community turns out and welcomes us and sends us off with their best wishes and prayers for our safety and success during this deployment," said Lt. Col Ron Mckay, Battalion Chaplin for the 1st Bn, 186 Inf. "I think this is the culminating event of our deployment training, and the families are coming out to show their support"

During the ceremony, members from the Southern Oregon Scottish Bagpipe Band, the Oregon Army National Guard Band and country singer Kristy Lee Cook performed for the troops and families.

"Being in front of the soldiers means a lot to me since my dad is a veteran and I love my country and everyone who fights for my country," Cook said. "I hope they come home safely and any time I can be part of anything for our country it's a great opportunity."

More than 1,200 members from the community and family members came together to show their support for the soldiers leaving and to have one last look at their loved ones before their year apart begins.

"The soldiers appreciate all of the support they get from the community, said Lt. Col. Greg Day, Commander of the battalion. "It's sad to be leaving, but it marks the end of our time here before training."

It was an emotional ceremony for many family members as the realization of what would happen started to sink in, however most Soldiers have been preparing their families for this moment and helping them understand what their job entails.

"[My family is] upset because they don't want their dad and husband to be gone," said Spc. Joshua Graves, a medic in Company A, 1st Bn, 186th Inf. "They understand what has to happen and being a citizen soldier, or national guards-member. Obviously we train so were ready to go anytime."

Photos:

Photo: 090504-A-5967R-117 
Spc. Jayna Nosik, from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, hugs her son before the start of a mobilization ceremony for the six companies of the 1st Bn., 186th Inf. in Central Point, Ore., May 4. 1st Bn., 186th Inf. has companies from Roseburg, Coos Bay, Grants Pass, Medford, Ashland and Klamath Falls. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Photo: 090504-A-5967R-118 
Spc. Justin Fox, Infantryman in company C, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, holds his son Robbie before a mobilization ceremony in Central Point, Ore., May 4. The 41st IBCT will leave for a deployment to Iraq in early July. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Photo: 090504-A-5967R-122 
Spc. Alex Martin, from Company B, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, a resident of Coos Bay, Ore., talks with his girlfriend Amanda Luther of Portland before the start of a deployment ceremony honoring the members of the 41str IBCT leaving for Iraq in Central Point, Ore., May 4. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.

Photo: 090504-A-5967R-182 
Members of the Southern Oregon Scottish Bagpipe Band, perform music for soldiers and family members at the 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry Regiment, 41st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, Oregon Army National Guard, mobilization ceremony in Central Point, Ore. May 4. U.S. Army Photo by Spc. Kirby Rider, 115th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment.