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Business owners, Guard soldiers ready for deployment

Posted May 19, 2008
Updated April 11, 2010

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— North Carolina's 30th Heavy Brigade Combat team is preparing to deploy to Iraq in early 2009. To help ease the transition from work to war, the National Guard invited employers to watch the soldiers train up close.

“At a moment's notice, we can get deployed somewhere in the world. It's very important that anytime we get the opportunity to train, we train as we fight,” Sgt. 1st Class Ivey Lee Cowan said.

A three-week training mission is held at Camp Shelby, Miss., the largest National Guard training site in the country.

“This is actually our basic 120mm mortar,” Pfc. Eric Shepperson said. “Right now, we're running live fire drills, just to be able to learn to control the gun and learn the firing sequence."

Everything they learn has a purpose: survival. And not just their own.

“If another infantry unit is under attack, pinned down, they need some support fire. You need to know how to get this gun up within seconds, because a firefight only lasts maybe a few minutes at the most and guys get killed,” Spc. Darryl Burnett said.

So, they practice, over and over again. The training is meant to replicate the conditions in Iraq.

“Once it's time for you to perform that particular act, you'll do it on cue and you'll do it correctly,” Master Sgt. Dwight Green said.

The National Guard hopes employers will leave the training site with a better understanding of what happens when their workers go off to war.

“I was very impressed with the type of training they actually have. I was a Vietnam vet. I got called up when they were rushing us through. We didn't get a lot of training. We got the training in the field. But here, they seemed really to have taken some consideration of how to prepare our guys and gals before they go over there,” employer Mike Barros said.

The 30th Heavy Brigade will go through another training mission in the fall.

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  • RainierBeer May 20, 2008

    Glad to see WRAL picked this up from the N&O, where most news comes from. Which came first, the newspaper or TV news? hmmm

  • LilMama12508 May 20, 2008

    Our troops need to come home. . .My husband was gone 5 years ago and missed our first anniversary, now this time he will miss our sons first birhtday. Our soldiers are sacrificing for what?? I am just through with everything

  • steelslinger512 May 20, 2008

    Can you say "HERO's" Thank you guys and ladies for all you do. God be with you all...

  • 19tarheel75 May 20, 2008

    Lilmama,
    Your husband, you and your children have by undying respect and thanks for the sacrifices you are making. And, laws need to be tightened to ensure that while guardsman are serving their spouses and family's quality of life is not threatened as well as guaranteeing they have thier job to return to. God bless America!

  • LilMama12508 May 20, 2008

    First of all why not invite the Families to see also, they are the ones suffering while the soldier is gone. Most employers dont even care. My husband is in this unit and I am very mad that they seem like they care more about there employers than there families