MEDFORD, Ore.– National Guard soldiers from the Rogue Valley are preparing for deployment overseas next month with one final training. The citizen-soldiers gathered in cities from Grants Pass to Ashland to load up and head out to bases in northern Oregon and Washington.
The Oregon National Guard 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry is one of several getting ready for their overseas deployment in October. For some, this isn’t their first rodeo.
Other’s – there’s a first time for everything.
“I think this will be a good experience for me,” said Pvt. Jacob Schwartz, who recently graduated from basic training in May. “I just feel nervous really but like once we get there, start working together it will all come together.”
In three cities – Grants Pass, Medford, and Ashland – the guard soldiers boarded buses to Camp Rilea in northwest Oregon Saturday. There they’ll train before deploying to Somalia and Djibouti for a 10-month tour.
“This will be my third deployment,” said 1st Sgt. Anthony Martin. Martin remembered how his first time deploying overseas was nerve-wracking. At the time he was married and had one child. Today, he has three. But with his experience, he hopes to help those following in his steps.
“I don’t think it ever makes it easier but you have that baseline of what you need to prepare for, what you need to get ready for, some of the challenges we’re going to face and then helping my soldiers deal with things I dealt with originally,” said Martin.
One of the hardest jobs is having to leave a family behind. Staff Sgt. Jase Deemer is deploying for the first time. He got married two years ago and now has a two and half-month-old daughter and a five-year-old step-daughter.
“Being away from family can always be stressful,” he said.
But like everyone else preparing for this tour, they signed up to get the job done.
“You hold that child that looks like you and really hold your heart, it makes it that much harder to go,” said Deemer. “But it makes it worth it because you’re going to protect those people.”
The National Guard soldiers will return at the beginning of October. They’ll have some free time with family before deploying on October 13.
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