The company, based in Oxford, will leave today for Camp Shelby in Mississippi to finish training requirements before being sent to Herat in Afghanistan. The training period for F Company will be shortened compared to that of other groups because the company has already prepared heavily in California at the Fort Irwin National Training Center.
“We did a lot of really focused training,” said Kurt Buchta, the company commander.
Buchta said Foxtrot Company will spend about 20 to 30 days in Mississippi before being sent overseas.
In Herat, the group will provide security for NATO training missions that are trying to build infrastructure for trade and business in Afghanistan.
“We’re just providing a veil of security so all those building-out processes can work,” Buchta said, declining to be more specific about what the mission entails.
But for families and soldiers alike, times like these are not easy.
“I’m not ready,” said Lauren Miller of Millbrook, whose husband, Steven, is a member of Foxtrot Company. “You can never really be prepared.”
The Millers, who have two young girls, have tried to explain the deployment to their older daughter, who is 3 years old. But for the most part, both girls are too young to understand.
“All she really knows is that he’ll be gone,” Lauren Miller said. “We’ve showed it to her on the map.”
Miller also said she has spent a lot of time recently trying to prepare emotionally, especially since this will be Steven’s first deployment.
“It’s heart-wrenching,” she said. “It’s relatively new. I’m very nervous.”
For many other members of the company, this will be their second deployment. Buchta likened the feeling to a football game.
“It’s game time, and now we get put in. I get to run some plays now,” said Buchta, who has been deployed to Afghanistan before. “And I should be proud of that.”
Although the ceremony did provide a formal sendoff for the soldiers, for many, it was not their last goodbye. They will gather at 8 this morning at the Army National Guard Armory in Oxford before traveling to Mississippi.