In support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, 300 Alabama National Guard soldiers are deploying to Iraq. News 4 spoke with one of the soldier who is at Fort Hood, Texas for his final training.
At Eglin Air Force Base, pre-deployment training is similar to the exercises pilots from the First Battalion 131st Aviation regiment have been getting for the last month at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Feel fine I’ve been in for nine years and I’m eager to use training,” said Lt. Hugh Bailey.
Lt. Bailey says the training has prepared him as best as possible and he's ready for his mission, “Apprehension and fear, but no more than any other, more curiosity than fear.”
Lt General Russel Honore, who spoke at Troy University's graduation and who lead troops in the Katrina aftermath, is the one responsible for training Lt. Bailey and others.
Lt Bailey says Honore's conducting a proficient outfit and leading a great bunch of soldiers. “Overall postures from squad are ready and eager.”
He graduated from flight school at Fort Rucker last year and was called up three days later. He's leaving behind his wife Kimberly Bailey who's living in Dothan and taking classes at Troy Dothan.
“Want to say hello to my new wife Kimberly hope she's doing well and our friends too,” said Lt. Bailey.
Lt. Bailey and the others are eager to get to Iraq, complete their mission and return home next year. The Alabama soldiers are part of the 36th Combat Aviation Brigade out of Austin, Texas.
At the completion of the battalion's intensive training at Ft. Hood, Texas the unit will deploy to Iraq with its UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters.
The battalion is expected to be in Iraq supporting aviation operations for at least a year.