Members of Oklahoma Army National Guard preparing for Afghanistan deployment
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 13, 2012
10/13/12 at 5:40 AM
BRAGGS - More than 100 of the Oklahoma Army National Guard's finest are preparing for a nine-month mission in Afghanistan.
The 1245th Transportation Company will deploy in late December in support of Operation Enduring Freedom after completing training at Camp Gruber in Braggs and Fort Hood, Texas.
"I've got a dream team," said Lt. Col. Brad Carter of Seminole, who is commander of the 345th Combat Service Support Battalion. "I'm really proud of every one of these soldiers."
Carter said it was hard to select who would be going since the company is down 45 soldiers because of force reductions.
"Almost every one of them wanted to go with us," Carter said.
Spc. Samantha Maddox of Tulsa is one of about 17 women in the company preparing for the mission.
"I'm excited and nervous at the same time," she said.
Maddox, 21, graduated from Sapulpa High School. Her husband, Adrian Maddox, is also in the guard but in a different unit.
"He's excited for me but also sad I'm leaving," she said.
The 1245th is a medium truck company trained in the Army's Palletized Loading Systems. It will be transporting supplies and providing security both for itself and civilian contractors.
Although headquartered in McAlester, members of the 1245th come from towns across the state.
Capt. James Coffman, who will be leading the company in Afghanistan, said it is a diverse group. Some of the solders have already been deployed twice, but many - such as Sgt. Chad Chudoba - will be on their first deployment.
"I've been training five years for this. I'm ready to put it to work," said Chudoba, who will be responsible for the truck crews.
Chudoba, 24, of Del City, said every operator has to have basic mechanic skills to fix minor problems on the road as well as life-saving skills such as treating combat wounds and amputations.
For now, at least, he will part from his wife, Rachel, and two young children.
It will be the third deployment for Staff Sgt. Mark Poe, 27, of Ardmore. Poe has been to Iraq twice.
"I'm not worried about it. That's what you do when you sign your name," he said. "I'm going to serve my country."
He is glad his 10-month-old son, Brody, is too young to understand.
"I'll get reacquainted with him when I get back," Poe said.
Coffman said the soldiers are in contact with their counterparts in Afghanistan who they will be replacing.
"We're very well established to take over where they're leaving off," he said. "We're there as long as they need us."
Soldiers will have a "battle buddy" with them at all times, Coffman said.
Original Print Headline: Soldiers heading to Afghanistan
Susan Hylton 918-581-8381
Sgt. Chad Chudoba of Del City works out at Camp Gruber in preparation for the deployment of the 1245th Transportation Company to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The soldiers will be transporting supplies and providing security both for themselves and civilian contractors. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World
Spc. Samantha Maddox of Tulsa is interviewed Friday at Camp Gruber, where the 1245th Transportation Company is training before being deployed to Afghanistan in December. JAMES GIBBARD/Tulsa World