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Local soldiers to be deployed to Iraq

Local soldiers to be deployed to Iraq


Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Nielser speaks before lunch is served to the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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Jay Rhodes serves members the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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Timothy Shells chats with other memebers of the the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. The company will be deployed in February. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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The 878th National Guard Engineering Company receives lunch on behalf of the City of Kings Mountain before their deployment in February. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Nielser speaks before lunch is served to the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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Jay Rhodes serves members the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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Timothy Shells chats with other memebers of the the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. The company will be deployed in February. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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The 878th National Guard Engineering Company receives lunch on behalf of the City of Kings Mountain before their deployment in February. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

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Kings Mountain Mayor Scott Nielser speaks before lunch is served to the 878th National Guard Engineering Company at the Patrick Senior Center in Kings Mountain on Thursday. [Brittany Randolph/The Star]

By Casey White

Friday

Posted at 9:35 AM Updated at 9:35 AM

 

In February, more than 100 local soldiers will be deployed to Iraq.

 

Headquartered in Kings Mountain, the 878th National Guard Engineering Company is comprised of 158 service members from North and South Carolina.

 

Members of the local Army National Guard Company live their lives at home, working jobs and raising families, but they take a weekend each month and two weeks in the summer to train at the Kings Mountain Armory.

 

“We almost live a double life. It’s really hard,” Brandon Whiteside said. “To have support from the local community like we have in Kings Mountain is really good.”

 

The city of Kings Mountain hosted a luncheon to honor the company Thursday afternoon at the Patrick Senior Center.

 

Various businesses in Kings Mountain, including The Sub Factory, Gold Street Soup, Salad and Subs, Mountainview Family Restaurant, Ingles, Food Lion and Sweet House Bakery, donated goodies, and city officials from Kings Mountain were on-hand to serve food and thank the guardsmen.

 

“We’re full of gratitude for all of y’all taking time out of your lives to go overseas and serve us all,” Mayor Scott Neisler said as he addressed the packed conference room.

 

Although only a handful of the soldiers live in Kings Mountain, the city has become like a second home for the soldiers who travel there.

 

For Sean Bibler of the 878th National Guard Engineering Company, the town has always been a welcoming place.

 

“We appreciate the receptiveness of Kings Mountain,” he said. “It seems like they’re very patriotic folks, and they stand behind the soldiers and soldiers’ families.”

 

The local Army National Guard Company specializes in vertical engineering. They build structures like living quarters, medical centers and offices for troops overseas.

 

“We have a pretty good job, taking care of the other soldiers,” Sgt. 1st Class Kim Brooks said.

 

The soldiers who report to Kings Mountain each come with their own background and experience. Some have served overseas before, but for others, February’s deployment will be their first.

 

Whiteside has been on active duty overseas before, while Bibler has been deployed with the 878th National Guard Engineering Company and once with another company.

 

Robinson Brooks joined the National Guard in 2015 and will be deployed for the first time.

 

“I’m interested in seeing a diffident land and meeting different people of different cultures,” he said.

 

The company will undergo further training outside of Kings Mountain before being deployed.