Soldiers in 39th Infantry Brigade Spends time with Families

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- Members of the 39th Infantry Brigade spent Tuesday preparing for their upcoming deployment to Iraq.

The soldiers and their families are learning what to expect during the year away.

Barbara Dahm's son is one of over one hundred soldiers that is getting ready to head overseas.  And like many of the others, this is his first deployment.

"I'm very proud of him but I don't think he's really sure of what's really going on because he's never experienced it," said Dahm.

That's why this day is being held.

"This is our family day.  We have a lot of new soldiers to our unit and we're trying to get our soldiers together and get them integrated so they can get to know each other," said Cpt. B.J. Vincent.

"I'm here to offer him support and the rest of them support.  Just to get around here with family and friends and have a good time," said Dahm.

"It's a day for our parents and family to meet other people's parents.  While we're gone they'll have the chance to interact.  If they have any questions they can ask each other and become friends while we're gone," said soldier Carlton Winters.

Getting everyone together like this will help the soldiers and their loved ones in the months to come.

"We have so many new soldiers from different places.  This is the one time to get them all together in one place so they can get to know each other.  With the families and the support, if they're together and we know that they're safe and working with each other then it helps us complete our mission," said Cpt. Vincent.

This day is not only about getting the soldiers ready to go, but giving them a preview of what to expect when they come home.

"Our company is a family and we have each other to rely on and we want them to be able to rely on each other while we're gone," said Cpt. Vincent.

"It's my first one.  I'm excited to go.  Everyone asks if you're nervous or scared and I'm just ready to get over there and get back," said Winters.

The soldiers will be deployed in early 2008.  They are expected to spend about a year in Iraq.