By: Casey Roebuck, KJRH.com
BRAGGS, Okla. – A group of Oklahoma National Guard soldiers are gearing up to deploy to Afghanistan.
Members of the 1245 Transportation Company are getting ready for their mission by training at Camp Gruber.
They will leave their families and lives in Oklahoma, just before the holidays, to train for and then deploy to Afghanistan.
Many of the men and women members will tell you they are leaving one family behind to join another.
“The bottom line is, we are watching each others’ backs,” says Cpt. James Coffman. “Because we are a family.”
For Cpt. Coffman, this will be his third deployment, the second to Afghanistan. He’s leaving behind his wife and two boys.
“Honestly, it’s harder on the families than it is on the soldiers,” says Coffman. “Our days are very structured. We know what we are doing — when we are doing it. Sometimes with the families, we can’t make contact home one day and they don’t know.”
As his wife looks after their family, he will look after his soldiers, especially those who are being deployed for the very first time — soldiers like Spc. Lucas Sylvester, He is a third generation military man who is eager to serve his country.
“I love the uniform. I wanted to serve my country,” said Sylvester. “My family has done it. It’s just something I wanted to do. It’s good to be a part of something that is bigger than you.”
This will also be the first deployment for Spc. Samantha Maddox of Tulsa. She put her college education on hold to be deployed.
“I wanted to get the experience in,” said Maddox. “I wanted to know what it’s like over there.”
The 1245 Transportation Company will move supplies through the country and provide security for not only themselves, but also for civilian contractors.
Next month the soldiers will head for additional training training at Ft. Hood.
Then in December they will head to Afghanistan. They are scheduled to remain there for nine months, but hope to be home in time for the holidays next year.