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Mississippi Guard Deploys to Iraq as Holidays Approach

By Lawayne Childrey | Published 30 Nov 2010 09:37am | comments
The Baker's are one of hundreds of Mississippi families preparing to say goodbye to loved ones headed to Iraq

Members of the 185th Aviation unit are mobilizing for a one year tour to Iraq in support of Operation New Dawn. MPB's Lawayne Childrey reports on an emotional goodbye for family.

It's a cold wet day outside Christ United Church in Jackson but inside is filled with love, laughter and a bit of sadness.

"Cause I'm not gone have nothing to do without him."

Marco Baker and his mom Roxy are here for a sendoff ceremony for his dad, and her husband who is an aviation specialist on his first deployment to Iraq.

"Right now I'm very afraid but I'm trusting and believing in God."

Even though its holiday time Baker says her husband’s call to duty comes as no surprise.

"Once you sign up for the Army or the Air Force or any part of the military that come with it. That come with the sacrifice that he and I have made."

With the drawing down of forces in Iraq, Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ron Beckham says the pilots, and crew members of the 185th aviation team is an even more critical asset to the success of Operation New Dawn.

"Nobody want to be on the roads, nobody wants to get in a HUMV and drive from Baghdad , Tikrit or to Taji or anywhere they wanna fly because it’s a lot safer and that's what we will do."

This time last year there were 4,000 Mississippi Soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today that number is down to nearly 500. But Adjutant General William L. Freeman says that number will climb to around 1700 by next fall.

"Our numbers came down because the 155th Brigade came back. However, now as we see units like the 185th going out the door then we'll have the 204th early in the summer and that's another whole battalion."

While in theater Approximately 240 Guardsmen from Tupelo and Jackson will provide aviation support. Lawayne Childrey MPB News.

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The Baker's are one of hundreds of Mississippi families preparing to say goodbye to loved ones headed to Iraq


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