Soldiers deploy under "Operation New Dawn"
Sgt. Richard Dawson of Company B 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, his wife, Michelle and son, Andre, spend a few minutes saying good-bye prior to a deployment ceremony Saturday in Gym 3.

FORT GORDON, Ga. -- Lt. Col. Robert Edmonson called Saturday a historic day.
"These are the first troops from Fort Gordon to participate in Operation New Dawn," said Edmonson, commander of the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion. On Saturday, 110 members of the 63rd's Company B, departed to Iraq after a ceremony at Gym 3.

The company will provide communications support to the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, Fort Hood, Texas.

"You have a level of tactical proficiency normally reserved for much larger organizations," he said to the Soldiers. "You are trained and ready to deploy."

The brief ceremony concluded with a roll call and Soldiers heading to waiting buses. For some Soldiers, such as Sgt. Richard Dawson, the deployment was routine. "You kinda get used to it," said Dawson, before the ceremony. Dawson has been in the Army for 10 years and left for his fifth deployment Saturday.

His wife, Michelle, said she expected to send lots of pictures and emails and to catch up on Facebook. The couple has a three year-old son, Andre. Despite the communication, she conceded "It's still hard."

Tiffany Ortiz is unsure what the next year will be like. Her husband, Spc. Christopher Ortiz has been in the Army for more than a year, but this is his first deployment. "I'll stay strong," said Tiffany Ortiz, who plans to remain at Fort Gordon during the deployment with their sons, Mattias, 4, and Izaiah, 11 months.

Company B is the second company of the 63rd to leave this year. Company C deployed to Afghanistan in April.

Page last updated Fri August 27th, 2010 at 11:25