Area Soldiers Prepare to Deploy Overseas - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

11/21/04

Area Soldiers Prepare to Deploy Overseas

On Saturday, area National Guard members learned more about their orders. For many, like E4 Specialist Frank Patterson, this will be their first time overseas. Patterson just received confirmation of his deployment in a phone call on Thursday. "I was ready for it, but to have a date on the calendar, to be able to visibly see exactly when you'll be leaving, it puts a new twist on it," exclaimed Specialist Patterson.

Soldiers and their families with the 48th Brigade met to discuss their up coming deployment, and to prepare themselves for almost a year without their loved ones. It's hard for mothers like Michele Patterson. "I'm mostly here to support him {Frank} ,so he knows we're behind him 100 percent, no matter what," she said.

The exact location of the deployment was not given out, but many soldiers and their family members say they have a feeling it will be to the Middle East. Lately, Iraq has been a hotbed of violence, leaving a lot of apprehension for soldiers and their families.

But deploying overseas is nothing new for the 48th Brigade. In 2001, the group kept the peace on the streets of Bosnia. They also gave support to troops during Operation Desert Storm, and said they're ready to do it again. "This is going to be a great opportunity for the 48th to show what our capabilities are," said First Lieutenant Paul Douglas.

Specialist Patterson said he's up for the challenge. "People are always saying how much they appreciate your sacrifice, but I haven't really made one yet. So now I get to do my share."

And so does his family. "I'm willing to sacrifice my son, if he's willing to sacrifice himself for everyone else," said his mom, Michele.

Most of the unit will first head to Fort Stewart in the beginning of January for several months of training before deploying overseas.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti; mruberti@wtoc.com

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