165th Redeployment - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

09/30/03

165th Redeployment

Most of the troops from our area are home from Operation Iraqi Freedom: the Rangers, Marine and Navy fighter squadrons, and Third Infantry soldiers. But now, some from the 165th Airlift Wing of the Georgia National Guard are going back to the Middle East. WTOC spoke with some of them to hear what they have to say about their redeployment.

They knew when they came back from their first deployment to the Middle East that this day would be coming pretty soon. Now Air National Guard members are reporting to base with their two full bags of personal items packed up and ready to go. They're enjoying their last few days in civilian clothes before it's back to war.

"We were expecting this to happen," said Maj. Brad Cousar. "As long as we have ground forces in that, region they'll need our support."

Cousar was deployed to the Middle East in March, and said of the experience, "It was a very exciting, a very exciting time." And he's excited to be going again. Only this time this time, he feels he's more prepared.

"It's such a smoother transition now, because we've been there, we've done it before," he said.

And so are Air National Guard Families. "Last time we learned things can change, and just keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best," military wife Brooke Melton said.

Not only do they know what to expect,165th members know what to pack to make their quality of life better while they're in the Middle East. Maj. Cousar listed, "Alarm clock, reading lights, plenty of sunglasses, sunscreen."

Cousar says this isn't his first deployment, and he's sure it won't be his last. "As long as we're watching the news and seeing people over there, it's our job to be part of that. We do this voluntarily. I'm not forced to be here. This is part of the job."

The government activated the 165th at the beginning of last March. While Guardsmen are known as weekend warriors, many still aren't back to their normal jobs. Maj. Cousar is normally a airline pilot for Delta, but he's been living in Savannah and going home to Atlanta on weekends to see his family.

Reported by: Holly Bristow, hbristow@wtoc.com

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