Troops prepare for mobilization at Yellow Ribbon Program - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Troops prepare for mobilization at Yellow Ribbon Program

Posted: Updated:
JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

"We realize it was catastrophic, 9-11. That is why we wear the uniform," says 223rd Engineer Battalion Commander Michael Cleveland. "We remember the first responders, also the loved ones who lost their lives during that event."

Commander Cleveland is helping his troops adjust to what's in front of them: a year in Afghanistan, their second tour of duty in the current conflict. Back on December 2, 2003,  Specialist Raphael Davis of Tutweiler, a member of the 223rd, fell victim to an IED in Iraq.

"That was our first loss, fallen warrior," Commander Cleveland says.

At the Yellow Ribbon Pre-Deployment Program in Jackson, soldiers and their families are learning about options and resources in the event a serviceman or woman doesn't make it home.

They're also brushing up on military insurance, family enhancement programs, chaplain support, and more. "About every element we could bring together from state and federal government that can help service members and their families," says Major Joe Hardman, Program Director.

It will be the second deployment for Warrant Officer Clayton Pickle of the 171st General Support Aviation Battalion. But he'll have to say goodbye to wife Laura, and his baby boy. "James Clayton. He's about 3 1/2 months old," Warrant Officer Pickle says. "It's gonna be a big step. My wife's gonna support me, she grew up in a military family."

"I grew up on this, so it's not too new to me," Laura Pickle says. "It's gonna be different with him, having the baby and him being gone."

After the tour overseas, the troops will be reintegrated into civilian life in another Yellow Ribbon event. 

The 230th Finance, 288th Engineer Company, and members of the 172nd Air Wing and 186th Air Refueling Wing are also mobilizing.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow