About 600 Third ID Troops Deploy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/17/05

About 600 Third ID Troops Deploy

More soldiers from the Third Infantry Division are deploying today. It's been nearly two years since the Third ID took Baghdad. Now they're heading back for their continuing role in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

About 600 soldiers are getting ready to face an unpredictable enemy, but they say with all the training they've received, they are ready to go in and get the job done.

"Initially, when the war started, it was purely combat, it was destroying the enemy," said Capt. Brian Glasshof. "Very quickly it became a stability and support operations where we were working hand in hand with the Iraqis. There was a great need at that point."

With the need to establish a stable government and a need to rebuild a community that was under a suppressive regime, these soldiers know they'll be fighting a much different war this time around.

"This time is a lot different because we knew exactly who we were fighting, now it's a bunch of chaos over there and we don't know who's who," said SSgt. Chad Ellison.

Leaving on the day our own civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., is being celebrated, soldiers are taking the desire to bring equal rights to people who've been denied them.

"Women can't serve, women can't sit in front of cars, women have to be covered up all the time," said Capt. Dominique Butler. "I think we take these liberties we have here a little bit for granted and today of all days makes me a little more aware."

Loading up on some last-minute items, watching some movies to help take their minds off what lies ahead, soldiers made one final weapons check before they head out to face the unpredictable enemy.

"Don't feel sorry for us, just pray for us to come back home," said Capt. Butler. "I think pity, pity can hurt more than anything else, so just keep home alive back here and we'll all be all right."

All though travel times vary. It's about a 20-hour flight to Kuwait, where they'll be stationed before heading into Iraq. The rest of the Third ID should be joining them by the end of the month.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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