735th Main Support Battalion Deployed

June 3, 2004 -- Posted at 5:36 p.m. CDT

DONIPHAN -- For many families, today was a somber day in Southeast Missouri. The 735th Main Support Battalion of the Missouri National Guard had their deployment ceremonies in Poplar Bluff, Doniphan, and Warrenton. Doniphan had about 40 soldiers report for duty.

Today was one of the toughest days in a soldier's career.
"I'm scared. I'm not nervous, I'm scared. Because you have to leave everything and become a soldier and you have to have your mind in the right spot," said Soldier Travis Albrecht as he meet with his family.
Friends and family members gathered to send off their loved ones, and it was an emotional event.
"It's going to be a long haul. But we'll be fine. We've got good support from our family, the community has been great. It's just hard, like I said on the individuals, their children, their spouses," said Specialist Kimberly Stark.

Her family says it's tough to watch her go. She will be leaving her children with her father while she's gone. "I'm really worried. I hope she makes it back all right. It scares you. I just hope she gets over there and gets back and everything goes okay so she can get back quicker," said Stark's dad, Larry Hardisty.

Her 10-year-old daughter agrees,"I just hope she comes back and she doesn't get hurt really bad," said Ashley Hardisty.

Family members say it's hard to let go of their loved ones, but it makes them feel better to know their doing their duty to serve their country.

Bobbi Arnold's son is one of the soldiers being deployed. She said everyday is a challenge.   "You have good days, you have bad days, but I'm proud. It's his decision and I'll stand by him," said Arnold.

The 175 soldiers are headed to St. Louis Thursday night and then on to Fort Dix, New Jersey Friday. Their final destination will be Iraq.
General Schull reminded folks, "Please remember these soldiers in their prayers and remember they are out there fighting for America's freedom."