When soldiers in Walbridge’s 1483rd Transportation Company deploy to Iraq later this year, they will be
writing new chapters in their own lives and in the history of the young National Guard Unit.
More than a thousand supporters – including elected officials, family members, employers and friends –
honored the Ohio National Guard unit Tuesday at Owens Community College as the soldiers prepare to serve
overseas on a year-long mission in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The 181 personnel assigned to the
company will help relocate heavy transportation assets for various units in the region. The 1483rd’s
departure, following theater-specific training in Wisconsin, will mark the first mobilization for the
Walbridge unit since it was constituted in 2004.
Capt. Mark Treacher, commanding officer for the unit, told the crowd that the company learned of its
deployment more than a year ago. In that time, he said, the unit has negotiated changes and challenges
related to a transition from operation of line-haul trucks to HETs, or heavy equipment trucks.
Now approaching its deployment date, Treacher said, the unit – dubbed "Team Juggernaut" – has
shown remarkable aptitude during training for its duties in Iraq.
"This year, you will face long days, hard work and danger," he told his troops. "But we
will face it together – as a team, as a unit, as a family. I promise it will be a year you will never
forget. Where you were, who you were with, the missions you accomplished and the memories created will
be with you the rest of your life," he said.
Ohio Adjutant General Greg Wayt joined Treacher in thanking the soldiers’ families for their sacrifices
and for providing the kind of motivation and support that he said boosts morale and keeps the unit
"You are truly the tower behind the tower," he said.
Toledo Mayor Carty Finkbeiner – along with representatives from the offices of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, U.S.
Sen. George Voinovich, Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and Ohio Governor Ted Strickland – offered their
appreciation for the unit’s service to the state as well as the nation. Finkbeiner told the soldiers
that he believed recent U.S. efforts had contributed toward making Iraq a safer, if still not quite
safe, area of the world.
"What you’re participating in, I think, will ultimately go down in the history books as a tremendous
breakthrough for the cause of world peace," Finkbeiner said.
Kimberly Hill, a retention officer from Newark, carried a yellow rose and blue service banner to her
family after the ceremony. Hill said she felt comfortable embarking on her first trip to the region
because of the training she received in preparation for the mission. She planned to keep in contact with
her family through e-mail on her laptop when possible.
Her father, Jeff Hill, who served four years in the Navy, said he was proud to see his daughter
continuing the family tradition.
Kelly McGoldrick, a first lieutenant with the 1486th company from Geneva, volunteered for one of the
three open officer positions to fill out the unit’s ranks for deployment.
"I actually wanted to go over there before being a commander so I have the experience before trying
to command an entire company," she said.
Daryl DeLong, a first sergeant with the 1485th, attended the ceremony to see off about 50 soldiers from
his company – including his son, his daughter and his son-in-law – who volunteered to fill out the
1483rd’s ranks. His daughter and son-in-law have previously served in Iraq.
DeLong, who served in 2003 and 2004, said temperatures reached anywhere from 140 to 167 degrees. He said
he advised his family members prior to their deployment "to always be aware, stay alert and stay
For Sgt. Dan Callaway, a volunteer from the 1486th, this mission will be his third to Iraq since his
first deployment in 2004. To date he has 21 months and 10 days in the country. And in that time, he and
his wife Wendy have given birth to two girls, ages three-and-a-half and one-in-a-half.
Another baby girl is expected in September, when Callaway will be stationed overseas. Callaway said the
deployment will provide him with an employment opportunity to support his growing family.
Wendy said her husband’s first deployment was the hardest, since she had no children to distract her when
Dan left for Iraq shortly after they were married. She said he can speak with her almost every day while
on-station, but that the soldiers can be unavailable for as long as two weeks during missions.
"It’s difficult, but we go day by day," Wendy said.
Dan said his family is still working on the logistics surrounding his daughter’s birth, but he plans to
inquire about the possibility of emergency leave when things slow down.
Since the unit’s conception, Treacher said, the Walbridge-based troops have participated in state
initiatives through service in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. The unit was ordered into
active federal service on July 5 at Walbridge.
"We now look forward to rewriting another great chapter in this unit’s history," Treacher said.
Photo captions: Front page: Lt. Sean Minor looks over the crowd before the 1483 Tansportation Company
deployment ceremony held at Owens Community College.
1st Sgt. Darryl DeLong of the 183rd watches Lillian DeLong, 2, play with some flags.