Charlie Battery to be deployed
The men in Georgia Army National Guard Battery C 1st Battalion 214th Field Artillery, which is based in Waynesboro, expect to be deployed in February, mobilizing for Operation Enduring Freedom. They’ll likely be in Afghanistan by early April, according to 1st Sgt. Brandon Cook.
The soldiers left for Fort Stewart this morning (Wednesday) for the first of many extended training periods to prepare for their mission.
Most of the 67 soldiers are from across Georgia, while a few others are from out of state, according to Avery Sosebee, NCO in charge of training.
Among them are two local young men, Sgt. Andy Salemi and Sgt. Juan Casarez.
Like nearly all of their fellow soldiers in Charlie Battery, Casarez and Salemi are taking time away from their civilian roles to serve. Only four of them are fulltime with the Army.
For Sgt. Casarez, a 2010 graduate from Burke County High School and former place kicker for the Bears, this will be his first deployment since enlisting right after graduation.
He’ll take time away from working for his father’s business, Johnny C’s Home Fix Up, and his studies in the nuclear engineering technology program at Augusta Technical College.
Though there’s a mixture of nerves and excitement about the upcoming mission, Sgt. Casarez said he feels like he’ll be prepared given the training they’ll undergo in the months ahead.
Sgt. Salemi, who spends his days stateside working for Pondersoa Trading Company in Burke County, has been in the Guard for almost eight years and returned fromAfghanistan just two years ago. He said this is his chance to help some of the younger members of the battalion through their first deployments.
“I’m ready for it,” he said. “I’ve been there before.”
According to SSG Gary Roane, this is the first time all four units in the battalion have been deployed since 2003. Charlie Battery was last sent overseas in 2007, when they spent nine months in Iraq.