The Indiana National Guard 38th Main Support Battalion Company B out of Brazil was deployed to Fort Bragg, N.C., over the weekend. They were activated Jan. 23 and sent to Camp Atterbury, south of Indianapolis, before being sent on to North Carolina.
The Brazil Times received information from family members of some of the soldiers yesterday.
Mary Ray, mother of Spc. E-4 Susan Ray and Kathryn Hofmann, mother of Guardsman Tom Hofmann, both said their children had called them Saturday from Fort Bragg.
According to Mary Ray her daughter flew out of Camp Atterbury arriving at Pope Air Force Base at the edge of Fort Bragg early Saturday morning. Ray talked to her daughter by phone about 8 a.m. She said some of the troops were flown in and some drove their personal vehicles. No other information about the 38th Company B was available at press time.
In a related story, according to an Associated Press report from Indianapolis, about 800 National Guard members from Indiana and other states who are heading to Bosnia-Herzegovina on peacekeeping duty received a warm sendoff at a ceremony attended by Gov. Joe Kernan and other dignitaries.
About 500 Indiana Guard members were among the group that Kernan characterized as "well-trained and up to the task, no matter what the task."
"Know that you have the unconditional support of every man, woman and child that calls Indiana home," Kernan, a decorated Navy veteran, told the group Saturday at the Indiana Convention Center.
The Indiana-based troops being deployed are from the Indianapolis-based 38th Infantry Division, the Terre Haute-based 38th Support Battalion and the Indianapolis-based 138th Personnel Services Battalion.
They will join the more than 3,000 Indiana-based personnel now serving in the military overseas, said Maj. General George A. Buskirk Jr., commanding general of the Indiana Guard.
Most will leave sometime in the coming weeks and take on peace-keeping duties in Bosnia-Herzegovina. They are expected to return in about a year.
Many of the dangers soldiers will face in Bosnia-Herzegovina will be different than those troops in Iraq face.
"In comparison to the rest of the world, it may be a little bit safer, but there's always danger out there," said Spc. Keith Nelson of Terre Haute. Bosnia still has nearly 1 million undetonated land mines in their ground, Nelson said.
Saturday's ceremony was bittersweet for departing soldiers and their families, with many expressing an equal mix of pride and anxiety about the months ahead.
Mamie Siegert's son Sgt. James Sickman, 34, LaPorte, will head to Bosnia with the 38th Infantry. She expressed a sentiment shared by many who drifted around the Convention Center. "In a way, I'm proud," said Siegert, 53, Fish Lake. "But I am also sad. I just hope he comes back safe."