489th Ready For Deployment

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) -- Members of the 489th Civil Affairs Battalion were deployed for a tour of duty in Iraq this morning.

"I'd prefer to stay home with my family, but you know it's something that's got to be done," said Private First Class Chris Owens. Owens leaves behind four children - Conley, Gabriel, Kindell and Addison, along with his wife Michelle.

"I'm sad, it's really hard when he leaves," said Michelle Owens, "It's just hard because the kids miss him and it's hard to know what to say to make them feel better." This is Owens second deployment, but first time going to Iraq.

"Before he was in the United States, we knew he was safe, and when he's in Iraq, we won't always know," Michelle Owens said.

"Going to the soccer games and baseball games and this one starts school this fall," said PFC Owens as he described all the things he would miss during his tour.

"They're really proud that they're Dad's out trying to save the country and help people," said Michelle Owens.

Specialist Shelia Suleski also stood close by with her one-year old son Caden and said her goodbyes. She said that she would keep up with her soon with "lots of videos, pictures and mail". Her family members stood nearby with assurance.

"It's hard, but I volunteered to be here," said Suleski, but she cares about the ultimate goal, "to rebuild the country, help the Iraqi people".

Soldiers from the battalion know the importance of their tour.

"We're doing our part to serve our country," said SPC. Daniel Bell.

The battalion will first go through some training in the states before heading to Iraq.

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