2007: "IT'S BEEN PRETTY HARD LEAVING MY FAMILY" - Calhoun Soldiers Leaving For Iraq


A sign beside the Joker Ridge Road says "Welcome Home Robby."

Calhouner Robby Parsons came home for a weekend visit before departing to Iraq, part of a recent call-up of the West Virginia National Guard.

Twelve other Calhoun men are members of his unit, the 769th Tigators, who will be shipping out the first of October for at least one year, part of President George Bush's surge, directed toward accomplishing the USAs military mission.

Parsons, 26, is leaving behind his wife Stephanie and three children, Garrett, 5, Summer, 2 1/2 and Chase 1 1/2.

"It's been pretty hard leaving my family," said Parsons, who hopes to be a good solider in the effort, caring about his buddies, many of which he has known for several years.

Parsons with his children (L-R) Garrett, Chase and Summer

"Getting the place here in the woods on the Joker Ridge has been a wonderful thing," Parsons said, looking around his hilltop house and farm, "I've been working on it every spare minute."

"Hopefully, the time will go by quickly," he said and "I'll be back."

Parsons and the 12 other Calhoun soldiers will be returning to Michigan today, flying out of Charleston.

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