FORT RUCKER, Ala.--When 2-year-old Clarissa Brumfield wants to go to bed, she will grab a book and say, "Book. Book. Book," and her father, Staff Sgt. Jason Brumfield, will read to her.

Even though Brumfield deployed to Iraq May 28 with the 597th Ordnance (Maintenance) Company's Special Repair Activity (SRA) for six months, Clarissa will not have to miss many of her father's bedtime stories.

"My laptop has a Web cam, and I recorded myself reading to (my son Perrin and Clarissa)," Brumfield said.

Brumfield was among eight Soldiers who departed from Knox Field heading to Joint Base Balad, north of Baghdad.

Sgt. 1st Class Jorge Camara-Falu, Staff Sgt. Johnpaulo Ryan, Sgt. Marco Elder, Sgt. Demetrius Scott, Spc. Troy Altman, Spc. Jennieff Snowden and Pfc. Robert Hubbard joined Brumfield for the SRA's 13th deployment to Iraq, according to company commander CW4 Christopher Mullen.

The Soldiers will perform maintenance on Air Traffic Service Command (ATSCOM) radar, Mullen said.

The group's mission is critical because airfields rely heavily on radars during frequent sandstorms that reduce visibility for pilots, air traffic controllers and ground crews.

Garrison Commander Col. Yvette Kelley wished the Soldiers well during their deployment.
"I appreciate what your unit is doing," she said. "For some it's the first time going but remember ... it's a team effort."

The eight said the past few weeks have been filled with deployment preparations, which included vaccinations, weapons qualifications and mission training.

Even those who have deployed before said they benefitted from the recent training.

Before they departed for Iraq, some of the Soldiers spent more time with their Families and some took special vacations.

Altman and his wife, Liza, visited Atlanta, while Camara-Falu's Family visited Destin, Fla.
Snowden and Hubbard returned to their hometowns of Zachary, La., and Ocala, Fla., respectively.
Being separated from their Families will be tough, but the Soldiers hoped to speak or write their loved ones once a day.

The group said they knew their Families would be taken care of while they served in the Middle East.

"My kids are having a little bit of a hard time, but they've got a good support system with grandparents and church," Brumfield said.

Camara-Falu said his Family has benefited from some of the Army Community Service programs in earlier deployments, and he knows ACS will help his Family again.

For some, the deployment is a first in their Army careers, evoking a wide array of emotions.
"I'm nervous, but excited at the same time," Snowden said. "I'm excited because I have heard so much about it, and I want to get some experience over there."

Altman echoed Snowden's sentiments.

"This will be my first time out of the United States. It's a huge new experience. I have no idea what to expect," Altman said.

SRA is scheduled to return around Thanksgiving, Mullen said.