Troops deployed to Baghdad

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather and rejoice.

Saturday afternoon, a group of 24 men and women and their families gathered to say their goodbyes as the Alabama Army National Guard's 1670th Transportation Company out of Brantley was deployed to Baghdad to fight in the War on Terrorism.

With his three-year-old son, John Tyler, in his lap, Spec. John Sanders of Red Level expressed dampened spirits over having to go to war.

"I really don't want to go, but I have to," he said.

This is Sanders' second time to be deployed since the War on Terrorism began. The first time he was sent away, he didn't make it any further than Fort Benning, Ga.

According to Sgt. Harvard Folmar of Goshen the transportation unit will mainly transport tanks while over seas. He said he and the other troops were heading to Fort Benning, Ga. to prepare to go to war on Jan. 25. He said he doesn't know if they'll be able to come home for the holidays.

"At this point, they don't know," Folmar said. "They said there's a possibility we would be home for Christmas."

Folmar, a father of two, said he is concerned more about being away from his children than anything else.

"It's going to be very, very bad because I'll miss their birthdays as well from what what I've heard of the time we'll be away," Folmar said. "It's really inexpressible."

Spec. Lionel Harris, 25, of Evergreen is being deployed for the second time as well. Unlike Sanders, he made it across seas and served in Afghanistan for nine months in 2002. He later spent six weeks in Jordan.

Harris was one of only a few that said they weren't nervous about being deployed.

"I'm not nervous," he said. "It's kind of sad that we've got to go during the holidays, but we've got a job to do and that's what we've got to do."

Sgt. Benn Braswell said he was prepared to serve his country. That's what he signed up to do.

"I was picked to do a job and I plan on doing it," Braswell said.

All the soldiers were concerned about leaving their loved ones behind during the Christmas holidays. As for 36-year-old Sanders, his wife and three children, the holidays have come and gone.

"We did an early Christmas," he said.

Others soldiers deployed included, William J. Weathers, Tommy G. Dewberry, Allen R. Livingston, Jimmy D. McBryde, Deborah A. Powell, Frank Sankey, Jimmy L. Caldwell, Robert Fisher, Wayne E. Mency, Dennis J. Owens, William P. McSwean, John C. Brundidge, Gregory McReynolds, Kenneth R. Miller, Johnny Cannon, John K. Singleton, Aaron E. Taylor, Darran R. Tucker, William B. Watson and Seyth H. Smith.