Atmore resident among 170 called up by Guard
By By George Wacha
Special to the Advance
When the nation calls, our best go at a moment's notice, and 170 of Alabama's finest, including at least one person from Atmore, have gotten just that call – with less warning then during Desert Shield.
"This was actually a short notification time in comparison to other activations," said Capt. Jonathan Caswell, of the Alabama Army National Guard's 781st Transportation Company. "We were alerted on Monday, given mobilization on Tuesday, and will be in Fort Benning, Ga. on Monday."
The 781st includes the armories of Fort Deposit, Georgiana and Daleville. Among those called to active duty was Atmore's Joe Rabb.
Caswell said the notification is part of Operation Enduring Freedom, and although they know they have been activated and will be going to Georgia, no one knows yet where the unit will be beyond that.
The captain is a resident of Pensacola, Fla., where he lives with his wife and eight-month-old daughter.
"I have been in the Alabama Army National Guard since 1989," he said. "We (my family and I) have been spending a lot of quality time together, because we knew it would just be a matter of time before I had to go. Anytime equipment, water purification systems and medical supplies have to be moved, transport units must carry them."
Caswell said the tedious process of updating personnel records has been ongoing all week, with Guard members reporting to Fort Thomas A. Moorer Armory on Greenville Street in Fort Deposit.
"Star Company personnel have been working to update all of our members' records, including financial, medical, and personnel – it will actually cut down on the amount of paperwork required when we arrive at Benning,""Caswell said.
Caswell said the Town of Fort Deposit has been very cooperative with the entire process of activation.
"Mayor Fletcher Fountain and the entire town have been very helpful to us," he said. "We are using part of Town Hall for some of our processing, and we even shut down the street for a period yesterday while we were stacking trailers two high – they have been very supportive."
Activated members are anxious but eager to serve their country.
"At the moment, I am not worried, but I don't know how I'll feel on Monday," said Lakeshia Davis of Lowndes County. Davis is going to say goodbye to her mother, father, and two each sisters and brothers when she leaves.
Jeremiah McConico, a Greenville resident, feels very confident.
"I think everything will be fine," he said. "We are going to complete our mission, and then come back home." McConico, who has been in the National Guard for two years, has a three-year-old son.
Deployment ceremonies on Saturday in Daleville, Fort Deposit and in Georgiana.