Send off ceremony draws large crowd for 1039th deployment

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A large crowd gathered in Jonesboro Friday to show support and send off our local military members. The 1039th engineer company, part of the 875th engineer battalion is headed overseas.

Ninety five men, some of whom have been deployed multiple times, others for the first time ever, are on a mission to clear roadways in central Afghanistan

"They fully understand the dangers of this mission...and the importance of this mission," Major General William Wofford said. However, deployment is still tough. Father of five, husband and soldier, Dwight Jones is being deployed for the first time.

It's a day Dwight and his wife of seven years, Amber, said they knew would be hard.

"It's the worrying about them," Dwight said. "If something happens, you're that many miles away and you have no control over it...and you kinda just gotta mentally prepare yourself for that."

Dwight heads out Saturday morning with the 1039th's engineer company to train in Texas for two months. Then to Afghanistan, to work clearing Afghan roadways of IED's.

"This is the third time that the 875th engineer battalion has deployed units overseas for route clearance," Major General Wofford said, addressing the 1039th. "And that's indicative of just how great you are."

Major General Wofford spoke in front of a packed crowd Valley View Fine Arts Center Friday afternoon, commending not only the men and women that serve our country, but the support system right here in Northeast Arkansas.

"I can tell ya, and this is evident by the size of this crowd, Northeast Arkansas knows how to treat soldiers," Major General Wofford said.

A support system that Amber said she'll be taking advantage of during her husband's deployment.

"This'll be the longest he's been away from home...but the support that everyone has given us has been really great. That way I know that if I ever really did need something, you know, I'd have somebody to turn to."

The 1039th will deploy with both a route clearance mission and a mission to assist in training the Afghan National Army. They leave for their mobilization station Saturday morning at 7 a.m.

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