Local soldiers head to Afghanistan soon

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A National Guard unit from Vincent is headed for Afghanistan in two weeks, following mobilization orders from the Pentagon last week.

The 440th Chemical Company will leave for Afghanistan on Oct. 14. About 140 personnel from throughout the state will leave with the company, according to Sgt. Rusty Smith.

Soldiers were in Fort McClellan during the weekend preparing for departure. Smith said soldiers spent the weekend updating personnel files, making wills and completing paperwork. During the weekend, Smith said the atmosphere was positive.

&uot;The morale was pretty good. I was impressed,&uot; Smith said. &uot;Nobody was panicking. It was real professional and soldier-like.&uot;

In Afghanistan, soldiers from the 440th Chemical Company will perform a variety of duties such as security. They will work from a base camp and will be responsible for mail and other duties associated with a small city, according to Smith.

The National Guard’s primary concern is the soldiers’ families, he said.

&uot;We mainly want to make sure the families are taken care of,&uot; he said. &uot;We make sure there’s a plan in place, that finances are squared away.