LEST WE FORGET - Our National Guard Unit In Iraq 2007

They departed in July,2007

Public says goodbye to soldiers during parade down Spencer's Main Street

Calhoun soldiers departing for duty in Iraq (L-R) Front: Rich Goff, Grantsville; Roy Williams, Big Bend; Frank Garrison, Grantsville; John Dennison, Arnoldsburg; Middle: Andy Morrison, Nobe; Bryan Gungle, Chloe; Matt Taylor, Grantsville; Sam Lynch, Mt. Zion; Back: Espe Clothier, Millstone; Bill Boone, Grantsville; Dewayne O'Neal, Chloe; Gregg Lee, Grantsville; not pictured Robbie Parsons, Mt. Zion

Family, friends and soldiers board bus at Spencer City Limits

A NATIONAL GUARD GOODBYE, AGAIN -Tearful Clinging, Calhoun Well-Represented

By Bob Weaver July 7, 2007

Their departure seemed more troubled this time, more clinging, more goodbyes, more tears, as many Americans believe the war was ill-begotten.

Calhoun, Roane and regional residents felt the winds of war yesterday with the departure of about 50 local soldiers attached to the new 821st Engineer Company in Spencer.

Other 821st soldiers departed from Summersville, 200 in all.

For a number of the soldiers, this will be the second time around fighting in Iraq.

The unit replaced the 1092nd Engineers, whose 85 members went to Iraq in 2003, all returning home without a single fatality.

A number of family members were outspoken about their dislike for the Iraq war, although there was no doubt about supporting the troops.

"If you've been in battle before, you know about the bond and passion you have for your fellow soldiers. It is the power that rises above all barriers," said a local guardsman, who asked to remain anonymous.

"I will come back. Count on it," said another, declaring his love of family and the hills of West Virginia.

The soldiers spent the past several days packing and preparing for deployment, with brief interruptions for special good-bye events.

A parade went through downtown Spencer where well-wishers waved flags and shouted good luck, accompanied by the Patriot Guard Riders, a national motorcycle group that lends support to members of the military and their families.

The Patriots accompanied the departing soldiers to Columbus, Ohio, with other riders continuing with the convoy to Ft. McCoy, Wisconsin.

The soldiers are expected to be on active duty at least 15 months, while others told the Herald it could be several months longer.

An Army band played patriotic songs after the soldiers debarked from the parade trailer at the western end of Spencer's city limits along US 33.

Surely it is here that pictures are worth a thousand words, expressed in the faces of family members, friends and the soldiers themselves as they said their goodbyes.

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