News: South Carolina National Guard's Combined Arms Battalion departs for Kosovo
Story by Sgt. Erica Knight
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina National Guard’s 1-118th Combined Arms Battalion honored its soldiers, who will be deploying to Kosovo for a yearlong mission, with departure ceremonies in Gaffney and Union, S.C., July 14.
The battalion will be taking Headquarters and Headquarters Company, A, B, C, and D Companies and the 1263rd Forward Support Company. They will be joined by the HHC from the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, who held their departure ceremony last week in Charleston.
“Our nation is great because of these men and women, their willingness to give back to the nation, state and community,” said Lt. Col. Robert Carruthers, commander of the 1-118th CAB.
The soldiers will be supporting the NATO peacekeeping efforts as part of KFOR 16. They feel prepared for this deployment and ready to get this mission underway.
“We’ve been training hard for this and it makes me very confident in our leadership,” said Sgt. Nathan Bailey, B Company 1/118th.
For many of these soldiers, this is not their first deployment. A large number of them deployed together to Afghanistan as part of the 218th MEB in 2007. They also spent the past two years as part of a CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force.
“Family is forever,” said Staff Sgt. Hendrik Booraem, B Company 1/118th. “The guys you deploy with are family. We have a good feel for each other’s strengths and weaknesses.”
The soldiers are not the only ones who will face trials over the next year. Back at home, the parents, spouses, children and other friends and family will be dealing with their own issues always accompanying a deployment.
“Whatever happens, we will help you through it,” Maj. Gen. Robert E. Livingston Jr, the Adjutant General of South Carolina, told families at the July 7 HHC, 218th MEB deployment ceremony. “Our pledge to the soldiers is ‘we will be here to help your families’.”