News: Missouri National Guardsmen deploy to OEF
Story by Amabilia Payen
FORT BLISS, Texas -- After spending over a month of training and preparing for this deployment, the 276th Engineer Company from Pierce City, Mo., deployed April 8 from the Arrival/Departure Air Control Group, here, to a mission in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Capt. Philip Kirk, the company commander, was more than ready and claimed the training his unit received here was excellent and met his intent.
“My goals are to go there, do our mission, and come home, you know, bring everybody back,” said Kirk. “I’d like to thank the Missouri National Guard, the 35th Eng. Brigade and the 203rd Eng. Battalion for all of their support. (The Directorate of Mobilization and Deployment) here was excellent, they treated us like first class.”
Spc. Walter Thorne from Ava, Mo., is 47 years old and is looking forward to his first deployment in his military career. Thorne served for four years in the National Guard when he was younger. He then took a 20-year break to run his farm back home in Ava, Mo., before coming back and enlisting again.
“I read a magazine article of a guy who got back in, and I thought, if he can do it, so can I,” said Thorne. “So I went to see a recruiter and he did the math, and he told me, yeah, you can come back in.” Thorne left the farm to his wife and his three children. “I want to help out the people over there, and do whatever they need me to do,” said Thorne.
Spc. Richard Bryant is a material electrician with the 276th Eng. Co. and also an assistant manager at a gas station in his home town of Neosho, Mo.
“I just want to tell my family, I love you guys, I miss you and I will see you at the end of the year,” said Bryant.