A long journey
Published 2:22 am Wednesday, June 21, 2006
By By KERRY WHIPPLE BEAN – Publisher
Larry Fraser says he's just doing his job.
The Brewton resident, a member of a National Guard unit based in Andalusia, heads for training later this month in Mississippi in anticipation of a trip to Iraq this year.
Fraser, who with wife Tina has three children and three grandchildren, will experience his first tour of duty in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He is a member of the 1st Battalion, 117th Field Artillery Unit of Andalusia, from which about 150 members were mobilized.
Fraser's church, Peace and Goodwill Baptist Church, hosted a party for him and his family Saturday at No. 1 China Buffet.
Tina Fraser said this will be the first time she and her husband of 23 years will be separated.
Fraser has been called up a few times and almost went to Iraq last year, but the trips were cancelled. He will begin training at Camp Shelby near Hattiesburg, Miss., on June 28, and may be in Iraq by October.
Fraser said his friend Darryl Coleman of Brewton. will also be going to Iraq.
Tina Fraser said their family and friends have been supportive.
Mayor Ted Jennings, who spoke at the celebration honoring Fraser, said he never hestitated about coming to the party.
Fraser is simply looking forward to his return home.
National Guard officials said the 1/117th will provide a security force for convoy movements and fixed installations in Iraq.
This will be the second unit of the 117th to mobilize. In August 2005, Battery B, 1st Battalion, 117th Field Artillery from Luverne deployed 142 personnel to Iraq. The unit is still in Iraq supporting operations there.
The 1/117th was mobilized last month, along with three other units, which brings the total number of Alabama Army and Air Guard troops which have been called to active duty in the war on terrorism to 12,000.