Troops prepare for deployment; clock ticks for Saddam - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Troops prepare for deployment; clock ticks for Saddam

^First Sergeant Benjamin Ford ^First Sergeant Benjamin Ford

March 18, 2003

TIFTON - Until last weekend, 135 members of the 377th Quartermaster Company were all army reservists. Now each is an active duty soldier preparing for deployment in just one week.

"It's been real long days and short nights," First Sergeant Benjamin Ford said. "We are starting days here at 6:30 in the morning."

The soldiers are busy doing an inventory of equipment and making sure it's in working order. But they took time to listen to Monday night's speech by the President.

Sergeant Carlos Collier said, "He gave the 48 hour deadline and we looked at each other and said 'ok it's time.'"

This is the first time the 377th has been deployed since desert storm, most of the troops have changed, but a few soldiers have experience in the desert. "When I went as a sergeant we couldn't prepare for the unknown. Now we have an idea what may happen in security measures, what may happen in terrain," said Ford.

What's still uncertain for the soldiers, where they are headed after Fort Stewart. But if it's war with Iraq, they say they're ready.

Specialist Willie Davis said, "No one wants to see themselves in harm's way but this is a job we got to do."

"It's what we raise our right hand for," Collier said. "You just have to do it and come back on home to family and friends." Those are family and friends they'll be trying to spend as much as time as possible with in the next week.

The 377th Quartermaster Company's mission is to receive, store and transfer fuel. They leave for Fort Stewart Tuesday.

posted at 5:30 p.m. by dave.d'marko@walb.com

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