Soldier Deployment Ceremony

By: Tamara Evans
By: Tamara Evans

The 30 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion, 123rd Armor will first undergo several weeks of training at Camp Shelby in Mississippi, before being sent to kuwait and then Iraq.

They will be running a rear area operations center along with providing base security and force protection.

Tthis isn't the first deployment for many of these Kentucky Army National Guard soldiers.

Staff Sergeant Adam Absher deployed to Bosnia back in 2002.

"It was hard but definitely worth it", says Absher.

Absher is one of thirty Kentucky Army National Guard soldiers from the 2nd Batallion, 123rd Armor, who will soon deploy for "Operation Iraqi Freedom".

"I'm very optimistic. I have a good feeling about it. I'm going with a good group", says Absher.

James Ford is another soldier set to deploy for the second time. He is leaving behind his two sons and wife, something he says never gets easier and is the hardest part of the deployment for many soldiers.

"That's definitely going to be the hardest part. Leaving the boys and my wife", says Ford.

Frank Epley agrees. Epley's wife is even part of the National Guard as well, so she knows too just how hard the deployments can be.

"I don't think they get any easier. It's always hard to leave the family. there's never a good time to leave your wife and children", says Epley.

Ready to leave or not, these soldiers say they are ready for their upcoming mission.

"We're ready for it. We have a great group of guys that are well trained. I think we're just anxious to get over there and get the mission done", says Ford.

"I'm just proud to be a part of this group. i'm looking forward to getting it started because it can't end until it starts", says Epley.

To help send this group off, Gary Tanner bought each of the soldiers a "Kentucky" logo shirt from the Dawehares store in Bowling Green, who helped make it a little more affordable.

Tanner's son-in-law is among the group that will be deploying.

He says he just wanted to make sure each soldier had a shirt to wear while in Mississippi that represents our state.

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