Florida National Guard Deploys to Iraq

By: Mike Vasilinda Email
By: Mike Vasilinda Email

The 180 soldiers came from Miami, Pensacola, and all parts in between. They will spend the next year in Iraq. Their deployment drew praise from the Governor.

“You are truly heroes,” Governor Crist said. “Extraordinary heroes. And I thank you for that.”

Lt. Colonel Dwayne Jarriel asked family members staying behind to be patient and loving.

“You play a major role, and believe me, without you, we would not be
successful,” Jarriel said. “So I ask for your continued support.”

This is the commander’s second tour of duty. He leaves behind a wife and three kids, including a 13-month-old daughter.

“I tell you, I have a renewed respect for any single parent,” Penny Jarriel said. “Because it is by far the hardest job.”

These soldiers will spend the next month in Wisconsin, doing advanced
combat training. Then to Iraq by July 1st.

The mission in Iraq, subject to change, is to dismantle US bases as
forces are reduced.

Sargent Amanda Curcio admits to being just a little nervous.

“Well, I mean, there’s always a fear of what’s to be expected,” Curcio said. “Everything is always changing over there. But the people I’m with are very competent, so I’m sure I’ll be OK.”

The deployment still leaves about 11 thousand active national guard troops in the state for hurricane duty if needed.

In addition to having enough troops in the state for hurricane duty, the Guard says thanks to Congress, it is never been better equipped to carry out it’s mission.

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