Calhoun City sends off company for third deployment

Reported by: Tyler Hill
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Updated: 8/05/2013 9:33 am
CALHOUN CITY, Miss. (WTVA) — It's a goodbye one community has now felt three times in the last decade.

In 2003, the war in Afghanistan began during the Bush Administration, and ten years later, the war is continuing under the leadership of President Obama.

In Calhoun City, family, friends and city officials held a send off ceremony for the Mississippi National Guard's 858th Horizontal Engineering Company.

Imagine having to leave everything behind- your family, friend and hometown.

For Sergeant Joey Jones, he's done it twice and one more is on the way.

"I don't really know what I'm feeling," Jones said. "I haven't really had a chance to think about my own personal feelings. I've only been thinking about the troops I'll fight with and my family."

He's not alone.

Over 150 men and women in 858 will be deployed to Afghanistan July 5th for one year. 

"We're excited about going to defend our country," said Sergeant Mark Herrington.

Jones said he was planning on retiring, but when 858 got the call for deployment, he felt the need to step up.

"It's something about this uniform," he said. "I put this uniform on 30 years ago, and it's just something you can't walk away from."

Many in the 858th company are leaving families behind, something Jones said is a touchy subject in his home.

"Just having to take on the role and responsibility of the parent at home, the only parent now, is pretty tough," said Roweana Jones, Sgt. Jones' wife. "We've done it before. We've made it through before, and I feel we'll make it again."

Herrington said, "This is part of a commitment that we make as soldiers, and our families are part of that commitment. They understand that going in."

"I tell my children, 'Dad's got to go do something for his country, and they learn a lot through that experience," Herrington said.

Resident of Calhoun City held a ceremony for 858, and it provided an opportunity to celebrate the men and women before their deployment.

"I love him, and I'm so proud of my baby," said Angel Gaston, mother of a soldier. "I cried all night, and I prayed because I know he's coming back to take care of me."

Jones said despite having to leave his family, he's ready to serve with 858.

"As we work together everyday, you become close and unique," he said. "It's like...a family."
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