Preparing for deployment

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TISHOMINGO, Okla. --It's a familiar but difficult situation for families across the United States. They prepare to leave their loved ones to serve their country. For the Cheadle family in Tishomingo, they say the sacrifice is hard, but it's worth it.

Capt. Steve Cheadle says he knew he wanted to join the armed forces after watching National Guard parades through his hometown of Tishomingo.

"When I was little, big trucks were rolling down the parades, big green trucks, so I've always had a fascination with army trucks," he says.

Cheadle served four years in the Navy before joining the Army National Guard in 1995.
He says he enlisted for the educational benefits and earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

In 2003, as commanding captain of Madill-based 1245th, he and his fellow soldiers were one of the first sent to Iraq for “Operation Enduring Freedom.” Over the weekend the unit received an alert of possible mobilization.

"I've had a mixture of emotions, there was excitement, but yet there was sadness, maybe a little depression about stepping outside the world and thinking the world's going to keep on going but I'm way over there," he says.

Cheadle's four children say they plan to send letters and e-mails to their dad if he's sent overseas.

"He's a very good dad. He's loving, he cares for you, he makes sure you have all you need and he supports you," says his 12-year-old daughter Infiniti.

Cheadle has four children. 16-year-old Jazzariana, 14-year-old Xavier, Infiniti, and 11-year-old Solomon.

"He's upset about leaving but it's not something he's trying to get out of,” Jazzariana says. “He's proud to go so I'm proud of him for that."

Military officials say the unit would leave as early as October 19th for Fort Bliss. They would mobilize with the 45th brigade then deploy to Iraq in early 2008.

"I'm fortunate to have my unit, didn't have to go with anybody else, but again there's my family, my wife, my children, they're going to be left behind,” Cheadle says.

“I have that void there, but if I can do this and it keeps them from having to do it in the future, keeps my sons, my daughters from having to go back in the future, then that's a sacrifice I'm willing to take."

About 450 soldiers from our area could leave in this latest deployment. This would include members of the 345 CSB from Ardmore and the 1120th maintenance unit from Ada, as well as the 1245th Transportation Company of Madill.

About 40 members of the 1245th went back to Iraq with the 1345th from 2005-2006. Those soldiers have the option to return to Iraq with their original unit, the 1245th.

Army officers say they'll know more in the next few weeks.

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