Soldier awaits new orders with 155th

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Army specialist Terrence Roberts served five years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Mississippi Army National Guard.

Despite his previous service, Roberts now finds himself facing a new situation as one of 3,500 soldiers in the Guard’s 155th Separate Armored Brigade. The unit was mobilized last week in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

&uot;This will be my first deployment. It’s different,&uot; Roberts said Saturday.

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A Natchez resident and correctional officer at Louisiana State Penitentiary, Roberts is scheduled to arrive at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg sometime in August.

&uot;They haven’t told us exactly what date (to report) yet,&uot; he said.

The troops are expected to spend up to three months training at Camp Shelby and the National Army Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif., before deploying to the Middle East.

Roberts, who has over two years remaining on his current enlistment, said hes assigned to a cavalry scout unit in the 155th.

&uot;We perform reconnaissance on certain areas ahead of missions,&uot; he said.

The 155th was mobilized in November 1990 for Operation Desert Storm. The brigade was at Fort Irwin when the war ended and did not deploy overseas.

For Roberts, who will soon be apart from his wife of two years, and for other soldiers leaving loved ones behind, there are some ways to make the family separations less stressful, according to local military family services coordinator Sharon Goodrich.

&uot;Every family should make sure they have copies of marriage certificates and birth certificates. They also need to make sure they have joint bank accounts,&uot; Goodrich said.

Goodrich, whose husband retired from military service and whose daughter is an active duty military family services coordinator stationed in Alaska, said by next week she should have a list available of items families can send to troops.

Goodrich, who works at the Natchez Visitor’s Center, can be contacted at 601-446-6345.

&uot;We’ll be glad to do anything we can to help,&uot; she said.