Business owners, Guard soldiers ready for deployment
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.
“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.
“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.