January 20, 2007--Posted at 2:10 p.m. CST, updated at 7:38 a.m. on 1/22/07
JONESBORO, AR--The men and women of the 875th Engineer Battalion have been overseas in Iraq for almost six months and now fresh troops from Region 8 are on the way to help reinvigorate the unit.
For 20 year-old Private First Class Justin Noblin Sunday was the fulfillment of a dream he has had since he was young.
"I have always wanted to be in the Army since I was eight years-old. I finally got the chance to do something, get remembered, leave a legacy," said Noblin.
Noblin and around nine other members of the 875th departed Sunday from Jonesboro to meet up with the rest of their unit in Iraq.
"I have been ready to go since I joined. I have been trying to go. The main reason I joined the military was to go fight in this war right here. I am ready to get over there and get the job done and get home," said Noblin.
Friends and family members like Jimmie Gatewood showed up for goodbyes and the last chance they'll have to see and hug their loved ones for quite a while.
"We have kind of dreaded the day, but now that it is here, we are ready for him to go and he is ready," said Gatewood.
Gatewood, a Korean War veteran, understands that while deployments are hard, they are a necessary part of the job.
"The feelings are we have to take care of business and you have to rotate the troops," said Gatewood.
According to the National Guard anytime you have a unit the size of the 875th serving overseas, you will are going to have some who are injured or forced to leave for other reasons. That's when reinforcement missions like this one come in handy, to not only boost manpower, but more importantly boost morale.
"I am sure when the raw troops will go in with the veterans and he will be able to fit in and do his share, carry his load as they say," said Gatewood.
"I am sad to leave the family and things, but I feel I need to get over there and do what I said I was going to do when I joined," said Noblin.