MS Guard Unit Deploys - - Jackson, MS

Jackson 1/26/07

MS Guard Unit Deploys

By David Kenney

It was a tearful goodbye Friday morning as a group of Mississippi Air National Guard members left for their mission overseas. Members of the Mississippi Army National Guard's Detachment 16, Operational Support Airlift Command are headed to the Middle East. 

A Friday morning sendoff ceremony was held at their headquarters at Hawkins field. After posing for a picture, Aurora Latimer will be saying goodbye to her father Dan for seven long months.  A pilot with the Mississippi Air National Guard, he's one of ten being mobilized to Afghanistan.

Sargeant Dan Latimer said, "Maybe some phone calls it will be tough.  My wife is excellent in supporting this mission and myself and we have a great family support network."

Major General Harold A. Cross, who addressed the guardsmen said, "All of these mission are important each one of them providing a mosiaic moving our national defense effort forward and were so proud to be a part of it."

Members of the airlift command will be piloting missions in a Beach Superking Air 200, transporting troops, supplies and documents. Safety of the mission is top priority.

Operations Sargeant David Lee says, "Were taking ten over and we plan on taking ten back and hopefully nobody has any injuries and bring em home safely thats our mission first."

For some of the guardsmen, it's their second mission in the Middle East in three-years time. Saying goodbye, hasn't gotten any easier.

Operations Sargeant Curtis Boddy says, "None of us want to leave our families but because we are in the guard, were in the military, I consider it an honor to serve my country as well as my state, the state of mississippi." 

Members of the guard unit will spend about a week at Fort Benning Georgia training for their mission before they are deployed to Afghanistan.

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