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On active duty

by Shannon Blosser

REGIONAL WRITER

GRAFTON -- Mario Brova is ready for a possible military mission in the Middle East.

The U.S. Army Reserve soldier was one of more than 180 mobilized from the Army's 99th Regional Support Command 363rd Military Police Company to fight the war against terrorism. Soldiers, who were from detachments in Jane Lew and Pittsburgh, reported to the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Grafton last week.

They left on Monday for Fort Lee, Va. where they will receive further training before moving to an undisclosed location for their mission.

"It's going to be an interesting vacation," said Brova, a native of Washington, Pa.

Monday's deployment was highlighted by an hour-long opportunity for family and friends to say goodbye to loved ones called to active duty. For many families, events surrounding a deployment have become an old habit.

The 363rd Military Police Company was mobilized for 10 months in 2001 following the terrorist attacks. It was also mobilized for duty in Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War and in Europe during World War II.

"You are a credit to your nation," Lt. Col. Terri O'Brien told the soldiers. "So are you, families, for supporting them."

Grafton resident Dorsey Williams, an Army Vietnam veteran, is among those who have witnessed several mobilizations. Williams' sons, Kenneth and Emmanuel, both served during the Gulf War and will likely serve in the war against terrorism.

Kenneth Williams was among those deployed from Grafton. Emmanuel Williams is awaiting deployment from Ft. Campbell in Kentucky.

"(Deployments) are all really hard," said Dorsey Williams.

Regardless of how many times a family has gone through a mobilization, there is still a nervous feeling about what lies ahead, said Clarksburg resident Virginia Moore.

Moore's son, James Moore, was deployed on Monday from Grafton. Moore said she has watched home movies of her son since she learned he was leaving for duty.

"It's a mom looking back at her son," said Moore. "... He's going to do well. He's got a good character."

Shena Layman of Buckhannon spent the final few moments with her husband, Specialist John Layman, taking in a final hug and kiss. Her husband leaves behind two children, a 2 year old and a 2 month old.

Layman said she will try to go about her normal routine, but will miss her husband.

"It's going to be a lot more lonely," said Layman. "... I love him."

Brova wasn't the only soldier looking forward to their mission on Monday.

Dawn Artice, of Scottsdale, Pa., said the upcoming mission is why she joined the military.

"It's exciting for me," said Artice. "I want to go. I always wanted to do this."

Regional writer Shannon Blosser can be reached at 626-1404 or by e-mail at sblosser@exponent-telegram.com