276th Engineer Company Deployment Ceremony

Published 02/18 2014 05:07AM

Updated 02/18 2014 06:14AM

PIERCE CITY, MO.--- Pierce City High School was filled with a lot of emotions today. More than 150 Missouri soldiers said goodbye to family and friends before heading overseas.  Family members and supporters of 154 soldiers gathered at Pierce City High School this afternoon for a deployment ceremony.

"Once a National Guard goes on to regular Army orders and is deployed overseas, we have a going away ceremony. It's kind of like the embark of the end of our state-side mission and the start of our federal mission," said 2nd Lt. Adam Winters, Platoon Leader.

"To give everybody a chance to say goodbye, thank you and God speed and good luck," said Army Specialist Michael Koebel.

The Pierce City based 276th Engineer Company will be sent to Afghanistan.

"We're going to be deconstruction forward operating bases in Afghanistan as part of the retrograde effort to finally get us out of the conflict," said Lt. Winters.

The soldiers had mixed emotions about their mission.

"Anxious, concern, fear is always a part of it. You're getting ready to put yourself in a war zone," said Koebel.

"I have to focus on protecting the other guys so they can do their mission while I'm still doing my mission, too," said Charles Harris, Specialist.

This is the unit's first deployment and they will be overseas for nine months.

"Not only do I get to go out there with a bunch of soldiers that I've been working with, but I get to practice leadership skills in a project management setting," said Lt. Winters.

"My main focus right now is on the mission, on my training, on my fellow soldiers," said Koebel.

It's a mission that fills them with pride.

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