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Neal deploys to Afghanistan
FARMINGTON, Mo. -- Spc. Austin Neal, of Gordonville, is one of nearly 93 Missouri National Guard Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan with the 1138th Engineer Company, of Farmington.
The unit -- which draws Soldiers from the 1140th Engineer Battalion in Cape Girardeau -- is part of Operation Enduring Freedom operations in Afghanistan, and will be conducting route clearance missions.
Soldiers spent 29 days training at Camp Crowder and Camp Clark for pre-mobilization training that allowed them to learn necessary skills for deployment. Training conducted there included weapons qualifications, route clearance operations and tactics, battle drills and warrior tasks.
Currently, Soldiers are finalizing appropriate training for deployment at Fort Bliss, Texas, including squad and platoon battle drills and tasks while being in vehicles and environments similar to that in which they will encounter while deployed. After mobilization training, the Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan in mid-August.
Neal has been with the Missouri Army National Guard for two years and is a light-wheeled vehicle mechanic. This will be his first deployment but he's confident in the unit, said Neal.
"We have had exceptional training from our senior leadership," said Neal. "We have a great unit with a lot of good Soldiers. After Fort Bliss, we will be ready."
While deployed, the company will fall under the command and control of the 120th Engineer Battalion, Oklahoma National Guard. The Soldiers are scheduled to return in the spring of 2013.
Neal is a 2008 graduate of Jackson Senior High School.
He is supported in his military career by father, Kenny Neal, of Gordonville; his mother, Pamela Kirkwood, of Cape Girardeau; and his sister Catherine.
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