Local National Guardsmen Honored Before Heading To Iraq

Staff Sergeant Alexander Zivic is leaving for his second tour of duty in Iraq. Although Zivic says he's prepared to go, he's also thinking of his mother and wife.

"I know we're ready as a unit, but just making sure my family's set up and ready to go, that's the main thing," says Zivic.

Major General Harold Cross, the Adjutant General of Mississippi, offered words of support and encouragement during Wednesday's ceremony. Mayor Warr even shared a story of how his son Noah got his name, from a family member who fought in World War I.

"We're a better place because their adding value to this nation by doing their services to us when we need them most," says General Cross.

The 231st Survey and Design Team's service will include general engineering missions and tasks in support of operations in Iraq. Eight out of the 13 men leaving have been to Iraq before. Those who have been overseas say it's important to help guide those who are stepping into enemy territory for the first time.

"We're just trying to teach them some of the lessons we learned the first time, that took a little bit longer to learn," says Zivic.

These soldiers will be away from families and friends for about a year. Major General Harold Cross says their sacrifice thousands of miles away is something we should always stop to remember as we enjoy our freedoms at home.

"Each generation has had to fight a major war; therefore, we've always had to produce warriors - those who are brave. They stand and fight when others break and run. These are such people. They should be revered in Gulfport, Mississippi, in Harrison County, throughout the state of Mississippi and throughout the nation," says General Cross.

The combat engineer unit will train at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. The unit will join the 230th Engineering Detachment Unit. A ceremony will be held for that unit Thursday at Camp Shelby.