Sgt. Stuckey headed for Iraq

Published 3:30 am Monday, June 18, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
Pepsi Cola Bottling Co. and South Alabama Vending Co. said a temporary goodbye to Sgt. Richard Stuckey Friday afternoon at a going away party at Pepsi before he heads to Iraq in July.
Stuckey, South Alabama Vending's route supervisor, has served 21 years in the Army National Guard, with 11 of those years in active duty and the rest in reserves.
"I got deployed right after Sept. 11 to Anniston Army Depot," Stuckey said. "They had around 300,000 warheads that needed destroyed. My unit went for a year."
While in Iraq, Stuckey will be performing convoy escorts, meaning he must ensure that military supplies get to the appropriate location.
"When a convoy of supplies need to get from Point A to Point B we have to make sure they get there," Stuckey said.
Stuckey is leaving July 3 for the armory and on July 6 he will report to Fort Dix in New Jersey.
"From there they (the National Guard) will decide when we will go overseas," Stuckey said.
Stuckey is leaving his wife, Lorraine, and daughter and son-in-law, Michelle and Bruce Helton, behind to take care of things until he comes back home. Stuckey also has two grandchildren, Adam Respress and Abby-Kate Helton.
Stuckey said he knew he would eventually have to make the journey to Iraq, but confesses that he is a little concerned for his family.
"When you serve 21 years in the military you know you've got to go," he said. "I'm honored to go, it's my job. I'll admit that I'm worried about my family, but when it's your duty, it's your duty and you've got to go."
Terry Day, sales manager for South Alabama Bottling Co., says that he wishes Stuckey did not have to go, but knows it is something he must do.
"I hate to see him go," Day said. "He's a valuable part of our operation. But, I do feel like it's his duty."
At the going away party, Stuckey had the opportunity to address his fellow employees after they gave him a Bible signed by each one.
"Keep me, my crew and my family in your prayers," Stuckey said. "Please pray that God will give me the knowledge to make the right decisions at the right time to bring me and my crew of four men back home."
Stuckey will be gone for roughly 18 months, but the exact length of the tour is still up in the air.

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