FARMINGTON, Mo. -- Today at noon a departure ceremony will be held for about 110 members of the Missouri National Guard's 1138th Engineer Battalion who are deploying in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will be held at the Farmington Civic Center, 2 Black Knight Drive. The 1138th is based in Farmington, and the unit has a detachment in Fredericktown, Mo.
Among the local residents deploying with the 1138th are Sgt. Derek Bedwell of Chaffee, Mo.; Pvt. Jonny Brennecke, Spc. Joseph Broach and Spc. Manuel Pavon of Cape Girardeau; Spc. Thomas Hubbert of Scott City; Pvt. Preston Mayberry of Marble Hill, Mo.; and Sgt. Bradley Skelton of Gordonville.
Sgt. Andrew Moore, spokesman for the 1138th, said the company does not have a definitive time frame for returning.
"Our orders state we will be gone somewhere around 400 days," Moore said. "We're hoping to be gone around 12 months, but it could be longer with developing situations over there. We will just have to see what happens."
In 2005, the unit helped with Hurricane Katrina cleanup operations in Louisiana and in 2006 worked on an Alaskan road project on Annette Island, Alaska. Most recently, the unit's New Horizons task force conducted humanitarian missions in San Marcos, Guatemala, in March and April.
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