1670th deployed to places unknown

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

Fear of the unknown brought tears to the eyes of the loved ones of members of the 1670th Transportation Company Det-1 in Troy during the deployment ceremony Thursday.

Several members of the unit admitted that the same fear makes them nervous about the mission ahead.

About 130 personnel from the 1670th will enter active duty today and about 50 of those are members of Detachment 1 Troy.

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According to Adjutant Gen. Mark Bowen, the unit is a combat service support unit that is equipped with medium sized cargo trucks. Its mission is to transport equipment, rations, medical supplies, ammunition and other materials in support of military forces.

Bowen said he realized that many people came to the deployment ceremony with heavy hearts.

"There's a time for war and time for peace," he said. "To quote Gov. (Bob) Riley, we are not going to war over oil or politics, but to protect our rights as individuals. America does not want to be a world policeman, but we must protect our freedoms and I am confident of our abilities."

Col. Allen Harrell, 122nd Corps Support Group, expressed appreciation for the tremendous outpouring of love and support from the families and friends of the soldiers.

"A hero is someone who performs a selfless act for someone else," Harrell said. "Heroes are people like you. It takes a special person to wear the uniform. Not everyone can do it. Know that the cause before us is just. The threat is to our values, our economy, our homeland and the peaceful order of nations. It has gone on too long and it's going to be fixed."

The 1670th will be at Fort Benning, Ga. for about 10 days and their destination after that is unknown. And, it's that unknown that is cause for concern for the families and the soldiers.

"Yeah, I'm pretty scared," said John Singleton who has been with the unit for three years. "You never know what's going to happen, but I had a feeling we were going to be called up.

We're prepared for it, but it's still scary."

Adam Davis said it would be easier for those left behind if the unit would be assigned to homeland security, but his feeling was that the unit would be going overseas.

"I'd like to stay on this side of the ocean," Davis said with a smile. "But, we're all glad to serve and we'll do whatever we're asked to do."

Just what the soldiers are being asked to do is make sacrifices - their jobs and their families - for the love of country, said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford.

"You exemplify what America is all about," Lunsford said. "And, we are looking forward to the day that we welcome you back to Troy."

Rep. Alan Boothe told the soldiers that the National Guard has often been called upon in time of crisis.

"The freedoms that we enjoy are because of individuals like you," Boothe said. "We are proud of you."

There was little doubt that those who attended the ceremony were proud of the men and women who have called to do the toughest job on earth - defend freedom. But, pride and concern were also in conflict on deployment day.

"I had four brothers who served - World War II and Korea," said Sally Reeves. "My husband was in the Navy and my son was in the Army, but seeing my grandson go is the hardest thing of all. I don't know why, but it just is. But, we can't help but be proud."

If John Reeves was anything but confident, he didn't show it.

"I'm proud to go and we're ready to do our job," he said. "We'll go where we are needed and we want to go and get it over with as quickly as possible."

Just how quickly "it" will be over, no one knows, but the soldiers of Det-1 seemed to be of one accord.

If "it" has to be done, they are the ones who want to do it.

"If I can go and keep others from going, that's what I want to do," said Aaron Taylor. "I'd rather be going myself than to see my dad go. I think we all feel that way."