Local News

Raleigh MP Unit Leaves for Iraq Duty

Posted May 20, 2007

— There was another round of good-byes for military families Sunday, this time in Raleigh, where an Army Reserve unit is being called to active duty.

Members of the 535th Military Police Battalion will be deployed to Iraq.

For 145 soldiers in the 535th, they were saying farewell for at least a year. There were hugs and tears, a scene carried out often as units deploy and all too familiar for military families.

“I feel a little sad because my family is staying here. But I am soldier so I have to support and defend our United States constitution,” said Juan Pablo Leon.

Their duty is something these soldiers take very seriously, regardless of the specific assignment.

“We understand we're just gonna be helping out other battalions and supporting the mission,” Spc. Andrew White said.

The 535th is the latest group from North Carolina to head into the war zone.

Thursday, 300 soldiers from Fort Bragg said goodbye and boarded aircraft at Pope Air Force Base for the Middle East. Some were headed for their third tour of duty.

One way to understand the deployment is that it will help someone else.

“Obviously, our resources are certainly stretched, but they've got a job to do. And whether you agree with the policy or not, we've got a lot of men overseas that need support, and they need to come home and see their families,” said Paul White, who had come to say goodbye to his son.

For those left behind faced with a long wait, trying to stay calm and patient is their oreder of the day.

“You just try to stick with your routine as much as possibe and take it one day at a time,” said Jennifer White, Andrews mother.

The soldiers of the 535th were told to be prepared to be deployed for 388 days, or longer.


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  • jasongcheek May 21, 2007

    I have read these comments above and want to thank everyone for their support of the 535th. Sunday was a hard day for me. I have been with these guys and gals for 3 years now, but am being left behind. Because of how the units structure was modernized, I was not able to go with them since there wasn't a slot for me anymore. It's a tough thing to deploy, but I think it's just as tough to say goodbye to all your friends knowing you're the one who is left behind. I am going to miss all my buddies, and hopefully I will join the fight soon, someway, somehow. All I can say is I wished there was a way I could have gotten on that bus with them, and I will miss them all dearly till they come home. Good luck you guys, you're in our thoughts and prayers. Keep your heads down, be safe, and get 'er done.


  • hollywood May 20, 2007

    good luck guys and keep your heads down, watch your backs and each others. Hooah!

  • just my2cents May 20, 2007

    We are praying for them all, and we do pray that they ALL come home safely.

  • Wake1 May 20, 2007

    As someone who has been through this more than once - I certainly can understand the range of emotions felt. God bless them all - may they all return home safe!

  • Monkeywrench May 20, 2007

    America - The Land of the Free, BECAUSE of the Brave.
    God Bless our troops.

  • randdferguson May 20, 2007

    As the Mother and Mother In Law of children who are presently awaiting deployment, I can empathize with those leaving to serve.

    Our Son In Law will leave on July 24 only two weeks after the due date for his first child. Emotions will run high, but he agrees he has a job to do.

    I wish everyone deployed Godspeed.

  • Big Mike May 20, 2007

    I can't begin to tell you the emmotional pain it is to leave your family behind and go off to war. I am a Vietnam Veteran who was drafted in 1969,and sent to a war that was so unpopular. I will always remember the day my dad took me to RDU to send me off to war. Back then, Oakland, CA was the overseas replacement station for the Vietnam war.....

    We didn't say much on the way. I was so depressed leaving my wife of 14 months that I couldn't talk. I had a lump so big in my throat it was impossible. I held back the tears the best I could. My wife had given me a brand new watch right before leaving, but I gave it to my Dad on the way to hold on to because I wasn't sure I'd make it back.

    39 years later.....I am still married to the same lady that I love more than I did back then.

    So if you have never been in the military, plese understand that going off to war is like losing your best friend..it hurt's a lot!....

    God Bless America!.....and please don't forget our troops!

  • whats it to ya May 20, 2007

    Good Luck guys/gals..Be safe