Albany man trades blue for desert camo - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Albany man trades blue for desert camo

February 9, 2005

Fort Stewart-- Many of these citizen soldiers' private lives mirror their service to our country. They are protectors and defenders everyday when they're on their civilian jobs.

In November, we introduced you to one such soldier. Lt. Michael Persley is an Albany Police officer headed for Iraq. We caught up with him during his training here at Fort Stewart.

In November, Albany Police Sergeant Michael Persley had just been called up for National Guard duty. "I see this as being a Police Officer on a bigger scale," Persley said.

Now Meet Mechanized Infantry Company Platoon Leader, Lieutenant Michael Persley. "Since then I've been part of a pre-mobilization."

A pre-mobilization that includes intense training here at Fort Stewart. Persley is leading his platoon through Bradley Gunner Skills Tests.

"I've gone through weapons qualification, through a readiness processing, to where the soldiers who were mobilized late, we just made sure that they were where they were supposed to be. And they were able to do what all they needed to do," he says.

He is platoon leader for four Bradley Fighting Vehicles. "My duty is to take 40 guys to fight for the United States and bring 40 guys back home."

And, in a few short months, he'll head to Iraq. "It's a lot of mixed feelings but it all boils down to is that I gave my word that I would serve my country and at this time is when I have to deliver on my word."

He's left behind his wife, Kimberly. "We talk every night and we've talked about this for a while. We know what's ahead of us and we're hoping and praying that everything will be all right."

He's put his job at the Albany Police Department on hold. "I've had great support from Chief Bob Boren and the other officers there in the department. Because he is a citizen soldier. "Support the guard because the guard is hometown America."

"Regardless of why we're there or why we should be or why we shouldn't, it really doesn't matter to me. I gave my word to do my duty and I'm doing it," said Persley.

He's doing it for his country and counting on his country for support. "Continue to pray for the soldiers that you have there. Even if you don't have any soldiers here, just continue to pray for us," he asked.

posted at 4:35PM by dave.miller@walb.com

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