Keokuk Nat'l Guard soldiers deploying to Afghanistan

Several dozen Iowa National Guard members based in Keokuk are about to head toward Afghanistan.

The 55 soldiers are part of Detachment One of the 832nd Engineer Company in Keokuk.

In just a few months, they and the rest of the 2,800or so members of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will be deployed to Afghanistan for one year.

KHQA's Jarod Wells talked to one of the soldiers Tuesday, July 27th to find out how they prepare for deployment, both as a company and with their families.

Normally the Keokuk National Guard Armory would be full, of both gear and soldiers. On Tuesday, though, the gear is packed. The soldiers are getting ready to leave for training, first in Mississippi, then in California, before leaving for Afghanistan.

1st Sergeant Douglas Bolton is used to this kind of preparation.

Bolton said, "Conducting Army warrior tasks, which are basic soldiering skills that we all have to be proficient at and be validated on, along with our engineering specific tasks that we have conducted along that time period."

With three overseas deployments already under his belt, he knows there's more to it than just checking your gear.

Bolton said, "The mental preparation of your family of the separation, that's the big thing."

Bolton has a wife, three kids and one on the way.

Bolton said, "What I have found through my experience is, each age group of children along with your spouse, all deal with it in a while different way. When you leave a family member, your spouse, who is really strong dealing with this, in all reality, I think they have the toughest job out of all of us. Maintaining the home front and the family while we go do what we're asked to do."

The send off for Detachment one of the 832nd Engineer Company in Keokuk will be held this Friday, July 30th at 10 AM at Keokuk High School.