SALT LAKE CITY –
Approximately 33 Guardsmen from the Utah Air National Guard's 151st Security Forces Squadron departed for a six-month deployment to Iraq from the Salt Lake City International airport on February 3.
During a time when most military units are withdrawing from the country, the 151st SFS is deploying to assist airbase defensive forces.
"I was there when we were putting up the tents and now we're pulling them all down," said Lt. Col. David Meyer, commander of the 151st SFS, during a pre-deployment briefing to the unit. "Things will be closing down while we're over there. We're going to be losing some comforts. We might lose laundry services. We might only get one hot meal a day and two Meals, Ready-to-Eat."
On the bus ride to the airport, the conversations among the deploying unit had a common theme. They talked about what they were going to miss. One Guardsman mentioned to the Airman sitting next to him that he was going to miss his dogs. The Airman replied that he was going to miss his hot tub. Then another Guardsman stated that he was going to miss real toilet paper. They all agreed that it was the little things they were going to miss.
The deploying Guardsmen sacrifice more than the little things however.
Tech. Sgt. Shatiece Werner, a 151st SFS member, was leaving on her fourth deployment in 11 years. She leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter as well as a husband who is an active-duty Airman and recently returned from deployment with third degree burns on the lower half of his body.
Sergeant Werner said her husband is recovering nicely, and that she is proud to serve her country.
"Deployments are always bittersweet," said Sergeant Werner "You want to go and get the experience, but you don't want to leave your family,"
The deployment, which supports Operation Iraqi Freedom, is part of the 151st SFS's regularly scheduled deployment rotation. The 151st SFS is scheduled to return from deployment in August.