Sheriff's investigator deploys to Iraq -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Sheriff's investigator deploys to Iraq

By Christian Jennings - bio | email

THOMASVILLE,  GA (WALB) – An investigator with the Thomas county Sheriff's office is leaving his badge behind for a year to serve in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Tim Watkins will help secure convoys in Kuwait and Iraq.

Monday was his last full day at the Sheriff's office. He'll join his Florida Army National Guard Battalion Tuesday.

Investigator Tim Watkins is a leader. He's the Lieutenant in charge of investigations at the Sheriff's office. And he's soon to be the first sergeant in charge of his unit...responsible for the safety of more than 140 soldiers preparing to deploy to the war zone.

Lt. Tim Watkins enjoyed his final full day at the Thomas county sheriff's office while mentally preparing himself for the task ahead.

"We'll be going to Ft. Hood for 45 days then we'll go to Kuwait and do convoy security in Iraq," he said.

A dangerous job, but one he's used to. His last deployment was to Afghanistan in 2005 where he trained the Afghan army to fight to Taliban. And it was there his unit was attacked.

"We were hit by a suicide bomber back in September of 2005at the base were were at and its something I'll never forget, but that's part of war," said Watkins.

A war he believes in. And is ready to fight for.

"I hope to see the Iraqi people stand on their own and run their own country," said Watkins.

Watkins also has a personal goal. "The main thing is I'm taking 140 plus soldiers over there and I'm going to bring all 140 back and take them home," he said.

And he'll have the support and love of his co-workers to motivate him. "He's going to come back safely. We know that, and we're going to be praying for him," said friend and co-worker Investigator Bob Bretell. "I have a lot of respect for him and the guys going with him."

"I love my country. To live in the United States is a privilege and somebody has to defend the flag," said Watkins.

Watkins will leave behind a wife, son, and granddaughter.

A family he'll miss and hopes to make proud.

He'll be in charge of Charlie's Company, the 2nd battalion, 124th infantry which consists of about 140 soldiers.

It's a part of the 53rd infantry brigade which is the largest National Guard Unit in Florida.

There are about 2500 soldiers deploying in January from that unit.

Watkins says he'll stay in touch with the Sheriff's office while he's gone to make sure everything is running smoothly. He'll return to his job when he gets back after his year of service.

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