S. Ga. soldiers leave for Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

S. Ga. soldiers leave for Iraq

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January 7, 2004

Valdosta - It was a send off fit for a hero. "It makes them feel like what they're doing is worth while," said Marca Whitmire, Family Support Director.

Hundreds of people lined the streets of Valdosta, dressed in red white and blue and waving American flags, to say good bye to members of the 48th Brigade. "No one here does this for the glory, we do it because we love our state and our country, but it does mean a lot that we have support from our family and community," said Capt. Marc Belscamper.

They'll be gone for about 18 months. First there's intense war training at Ft. Stewart and Ft. Irwin California, then its off to battle in Iraq. "We're upset about him leaving but we know he'll come home safe," said Melissa Anderson.

Each soldier has his own special story, like Sgt. Michael Anderson. His wife is expecting their third child any day now.

By the time Captain Marc Belscamper returns, his eight-month-old son Tucker will be walking and talking. "I'm going to get emotional and miss my son and wife dearly, but my county's called and I've got to do my duty," said Belscamper.

Leaving is hard, but these soldiers say there's one thing that will make the time away from their families a little less difficult. "If there's a family member that needs something or has a problem and they can get some help through the community, that's what will put my soldiers minds at ease while they're over there doing their job," said Belscamper.

And the outpouring of community support shown today proves this community is up to the job.

posted at 3:30 P.M. by ashley.harper@walb.com