39th Soldiers Head To Iraq, For Half It's Second Time Around

Cabot- It was a day filled with tearful goodbyes as members of the Arkansas National Guard's 39th Infantry Brigade left home for training preparation to head back to Iraq.

Soldiers from Cabot, Beebe and Wynne left from the Cabot Armory on Sunday. They kissed their loved ones goodbye, boarding buses that will take them on a seven-hour drive to training camp in Mississippi.

"It kind of hits you hard whenever you know somebody who's going over there," said Hoxie high school student, Jennifer Henderson.

And noone probably knows that better than the hundreds of well-wishers seeing off their loved ones, as they answer the call of duty for their country.

"They protect our country," said Carrie Snapp, also of Hoxie. "They are working for the good of us all. It's not always a choice to go, but when their skill is something that is needed then they go. You sacrifice your personal needs for the betterment of your country and your community."

In Iraq the group will be responsible for convoy security, meaning they will offer protection from roadside bombs.

"I'm eager to go, but you know you're also scared," said Sgt. Thomas Spence. "You can't tell what's going to happen but I'm happy to go."

The 39th Infantry Brigade last deployed for Iraq in late 2003, on a mission that lasted until early 2005.

About half of the present group are veterans of the first mission.

Questions or Comments? E-mail me at rsmith@kait8.com