The Brazil National Guard 38th Main Support Battalion, Company B, has been activated and is leaving for Camp Atterbury today. A convoy of military trucks is expected to travel through town, east on U. S. 40, about 2 p.m. Their deployment can last up to 24 months.
Company Commander Capt. Erik Parker said they're being deployed as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"We don't know yet, exactly where we're being sent," Parker said. "But, it will be within the continental United States.
"A lot of soldiers are coming home from Iraq and a lot are being sent over. We'll be providing the logistical support needed for that to happen. We will probably be somewhere in the Southeast near a port. We'll be loading and unloading ships."
Parker was asked about a previous report several weeks ago from Indianapolis about Operation Noble Eagle and Homeland Security.
"Obviously, terrorism is still there," he said. "But, it's never been talked about as far as what we're doing."
Parker further explained that the term "homeland security" does not always refer to terrorist acts or threats. He said people cannot just drive into Camp Atterbury or the Indiana Air National Guard in Terre Haute. Security has been increased there and on other military bases to ensure safety. While the security has been increased, no act of terrorism is anticipated at these facilities.
Most, but not all, of the Brazil National Guard members will be deployed.
"There is a contingent of troops who will stay here," Parker said. "Not by choice. Certain criteria has to be met for a soldier to qualify to be mobilized."
Also, one qualified soldier has to stay behind to ensure
continued operation of the home base.
Spc. Tara Duncan, 23, of Vincennes, is preparing to leave with her Brazil unit. The single mother of three-year-old, Jayla, said her sister will take care of her daughter with help from their parents.
One requirement to be in the National Guard is to have a family plan. The soldier has to list someone who will take care of dependents if a single parent or both military parents get called up.
Duncan was with the regular Army for over two years then joined the National Guard in 2001. The Vincennes University nursing student said, "I've tried to explain this to Jayla but she doesn't really understand.
"I've been trying to prepare myself emotionally for it if it happened since I joined the Army in 1998. It's part of it. I can't say I'm happy about it but I've accepted it.
"I'd like to thank the community here for their support," Duncan continued, smiling. "Our family has tried to prepare ourselves for this. A lot of people here have said that if we need anything, even with taking care of my daughter, to let them know. It's really been great."
"I'm from Indianapolis," he said. "I've been here a week now, but I feel like I'm a part of this community. The people have been very supportive. It's kind of overwhelming."
Brazil native Staff Sgt. Paul Wetnight is married and has four young daughters. He was on active duty with the regular Army for 10 years, served in Desert Storm and joined the National Guard out of Brazil 2 1/2 years ago.
Wetnight was asked how he felt about serving in Desert Storm and being activated now.
"That was my duty" Wetnight said about the 10 months he spent in Desert Storm. "Again, it's my duty," he said of his current deployment. "I've always been sort of a patriotic person."
His family has mixed emotions.
"Especially my younger daughters. They're a little upset about it. They weren't even born yet when I was in Desert Storm.
"But they've got a real strong mother," Wetnight continued. "She's been through a lot and she's capable to lead the family.
"We're going to do a good job, for our unit, the Guard, our country and Brazil."