National Guard Soldiers Prepare for Deployment to the Middle EastPosted: Updated:
YAKIMA, Wash-- Around 2,500 National Guard Citizen Soldiers from Washington will join the front line of the war come late august.
But this isn't the first time these National Guard soldiers have seen combat. 60% are veterans previously serving in Iraq from march 2004 to march 2005.
"It was a little rough because I left here as a mechanic and during our training and stuff became more of an MP. We did raids, we did dismounted patrols," said Sgt. Phillip Vijarro, "That's why they changed it to an Army of One. We still gotta have the same standards as everyone else you know we just don't get as much time to train on it."
That means intense training when they can. From life saving first aid to learning to shoot automatic weapons from the top of a moving vehicle.
An aspect of the guard many enjoy is the comradery, the soldiers help each other during difficult missions.
"Sometimes it's scary, but other times it's alright as along as you go good friends to talk to and work things out," said Sgt. Shawn Selfridge.
While most guard soldiers have civilian jobs, some of the men from Yakima work as mechanics year round.
"We work on all the track equipment the National Guard owns. When they're not working on their one weekend a month we maintain them the rest of the time," said Vijarro.
Once in Iraq, guards will work with the local government to help rebuild. Civilian soldiers are especially well suited for this work because of the different expertise they bring to the table, ranging from engineering to teaching.
The men and women of the guard will also work as convoy support and base defense.