30 Fort Riley Soldiers Deploy to Iraq

By: Leona Liu Email
By: Leona Liu Email

Love of country and honor---that's what American soldiers pledged during their deployment ceremony this morning at Fort Riley.

"I'm ready to go...want to just go and get it over with and come home," said Marty Weber, the commander of the 84th battalion, which is in charge of explosive ordnance disposal.

The battalion was formed in June 2007. Nearly 30 soldiers, men and women, comprise it. This is the battalion's first tour.

Soldiers received word of their mission to Iraq six months ago. They will be posted there for 12 months.

"It's still the number one threat there....explosive devices are what kill most of the American troops there," said Steven Petersen, the executive officer of the battalion.

Once there, the battalion soldiers will partner with Iraqi police in improving overall security.

"What we're going to do there is a bit of a transition...We're going to train the Iraqi police...We look at it as part of our exit strategy," said Weber.

The event was a way for military families to salute their heroes and show their support.

Petersen's wife of 16 years and his six year-old son, Turner, came to
send him off today.

"It's hard to be away from him for so long....but we try to live life as usual," said Jo Petersen, his wife.

Though family members were emotional to say farewell to their loved ones they were also proud of them.

"I'm so proud of him. It's a badge of honor for our family that he's serving. The kids are really proud of their dad," Jo Petersen said.

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