875th Going to Iraq

March 28, 2006--Posted at 6:19 p.m. CST

JONESBORO, AR--A Jonesboro based National Guard Battalion is going to Iraq.

"Something I am proud to do, I am proud to be called on to serve my country," said Dale Hunter of the 875th Arkansas National Guard Engineer Battalion.

Ready to roll, the 875th Engineer Battalion out of Jonesboro received the call on Monday that they would soon be Iraq bound.

"We received the alert order a couple weeks ago, and this mobilization order just now makes it all official," said Major Michael Henderson of the 875th.

It's something the 875th is always ready for but is always a surprise.

"It sunk in really hard once we finally got the order that we are going," said Wendy Forbes of the 875th.

"We feel like we are pretty essential or they wouldn't be calling us," said Henderson.

The Guardsmen will report to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin in mid July for training before shipping off to Iraq in the fall. After training and time overseas the 875th will serve roughly 16 to 18 months helping to clean up Iraq.

"That's keeping the roads clear force protection keeping our troops safe and general soldier tasks," said Henderson.

For some members of the 875th like Hunter Dale, who has a wife and unborn child, a lot is on his mind before he is deployed.

"Making sure my family is prepared to handle the things while I am gone and taking care of the troops while we are over there," said Dale.

Dale has never been deployed overseas, but luckily fellow members of 875th have served in Iraq before and are calling on their past experiences to prepare other members of the 875th.

"We have been tailoring our training programs based off a lot of the experiences and hardships we had to endure," said Training Officer Brian Mason of the 875th.

The 875th is always prepared to deploy on short notice to protect our freedom.

"I'm just ready to do my part. I Thank God every day for the life I had and I just trust him to take care of my family and my troops," said Forbes.

Including the 875th more than 1500 Arkansas guardsmen are currently under mobilization orders for Iraq or Afghanistan.