APD Officer prepares for task in Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

APD Officer prepares for task in Iraq

Albany - Thousands of National Guardsmen with the 48th Brigade are preparing to go to Iraq, 900 are from our area, and over 50 are from Albany. This week, those soldiers are at home with their families saying their goodbyes before their yearlong stint overseas.

2nd Lt. Michael Persley has been undergoing mobilization training at Ft. Stewart since January. He's a member of the National Guard, and was called up to join the 48th Brigade for service in Operation Iraqi Freedom. He says, "For the past few months, we've been doing training at Ft. Stewart which consisted of Urban operations, learning how to do traffic control points."

It's much like his job at the Albany Police Department. "Except," he says, "now you'll be checking for people who are smuggling weapons, maybe smuggling drugs and also any insurgents."

And with the new location, and new job duties, come new fears. "Fear of the unknown, but if you're sure about your training and you've made peace with God, then that fear will subside once you get there," says Persley.

The faith he has in God is shared by his wife, Kimberly. She says, "Once you get that peace with God, then you realize no matter where you are or what you're doing, you're still in God's hands that in and of itself is what's going to carry the both of us through this."

And although, Lt. Persley may not be thrilled about his job assignment, he is dedicated to the task. "I have mixed feelings about it," says Persley, "but all in all, it's a promise that I made, some years ago, that I would do this."

Persley will be in Iraq for about one year. That year begins when he arrives in Iraq, not Kuwait. When he receives his two weeks of R&R, Persley plans to join his wife, Kimberly in Europe for what will certainly be a much deserved vacation. He prays to be back in the states by July 2006.

The 48th Brigade will hold a departing ceremony at Ft. Stewart on the 14TH of May as troops begin deploying overseas.

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