Construction Soldiers deploy to Middle East

By Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

First Sgt. Terry Vaughn prepares the Soldiers of the 207th Horizontal Construction Company for their departure ceremony in Hazard, Ky., Dec. 14, 2016. Approximately 160 Soldiers of the unit will deploy to the Middle East this winter.(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

First Sgt. Terry Vaughn prepares the Soldiers of the 207th Horizontal Construction Company for their departure ceremony in Hazard, Ky., Dec. 14, 2016. Approximately 160 Soldiers of the unit will deploy to the Middle East this winter.(U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

HAZARD, Ky. — A large crowd of friends and family packed the Perry County High School gymnasium to say farewell to the 207th Horizontal Construction Company Dec. 14. Approximately 160 Soldiers of the engineer unit are scheduled to deploy to the Middle East.

“I am confident the 207th will do us proud,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Campbell, Kentucky’s assistant adjutant general. “They are fully prepared for this deployment and they are the best we have to offer.”

The 207th will conduct construction operations in the Middle East, Central and South Asia in support of U.S. Army Central Command. Their missions will focus on road and runway repair, base maintenance, drainage correction projects, and culvert installation. The 207th will conduct multiple construction missions across multiple countries simultaneously.

“We represent a place where hard work and strong character are still a part of the values that exist,” said Capt. Brian Ladd, commander of the 207th. “We will continue to live those values as we go forward and represent our commonwealth and our country overseas.”

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The 207th will use its members’ extensive military and civilian skills to execute complex construction projects in austere environments in support of ongoing military operations in the region.

Soldiers of the 207th last deployed overseas in 2005, so very few of the unit have mobilized before. Sgt. Jacob Hudson, a mechanic with the 207th is preparing to leave home and his wife and newborn for the first time. He described the moment as a wave of emotions, but is optimistic because of the Soldiers around him.

“I’ve worked with a lot of people both in and out of uniform, but this group of Soldiers is the closest knit I’ve ever been a part of, and that will help us accomplish our mission,” he said. “We are ready as a team for this and are excited to get the job done.”

The 207th will deploy with a lot of optimism, pride and community support. Sgt. 1st Class Adam Spencer is the unit readiness noncommissioned officer, and has lived in the area for 10 years. He has seen the unit change with the times and prepare itself for the next step.

“I’ve been in the Guard now for 15 years and I can personally say I have never seen a group of Soldiers work so hard that then the ones of the 207th,” Spencer said. “It’s because of these Soldiers that the 207th is such a successful unit and is a great example of where the Kentucky National Guard will go one day.”

The Soldiers will finish their training at Fort Bliss, Texas prior to deploying overseas.

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