Local men activated to answer the call
AREA -- Not knowing when they would see their family and friends again, four Mammoth Spring men departed the Arkansas Army National Guard Armory last week to fight a war.
All four men, CW2 Bruce Green, SPC. Daniel Busch, Sgt. Roy England and Staff Sgt. Jerry French, members of the 224th Maintenance Company of the Arkansas Army National Guard headquartered in Mountain Home, Ark., received deployment orders March 1 for one year and were formally activated March 15, although the time can be lengthened or shortened as need arises.
French was one of 17 members of the advance party that left the Armory around 9 a.m. March 15. His party left for Fort Chafee, Ark., and arrived at Fort Sill, Okla., March 16 to make preparations for the main body. The main body, including the remaining three Mammoth Spring men, stopped at Fort Chafee Monday night and traveled on to Fort Sill on Tuesday. The unit will eventually be deployed to a yet unannounced location.
At Fort Sill the company will receive advanced training for a period of approximately 30 days before they head overseas.
"Be proud. We did not raise our hand and decide to go into this business 365 days a year. A lot of us have our own business. A lot of us are going to lose a lot of money coming here and putting our uniform on. But you know what the difference between us and the active duty is. We had a choice and we still did it. It means a lot. You are giving up your lives and giving up your jobs to go answer the call of our commander-in-chief and I am proud of every one of you. You should be proud too. We have a mission. Do your very best. Be proud of your uniform and what you do. Most of all, do not let this unit down," Capt. Donald S. Mitchell of Conway told unit members.
Staff Sgt. French leaves behind his wife, Sheri, and three children, Elizabeth, 5, Emma, 8, and Jeremy, 11. French is a 1988 graduate of Mammoth Spring High School and is employed at the Norfork Fish Hatchery. He and his family live at Gamaliel, Ark. He is the son of Jerry Sr. and Louise French of Mammoth Spring. French first joined the Arkansas Army National Guard in 1987.
CW2 Greene leaves behind wife, Linda, who is employed at Oak Ridge Central School, and two children, Michael, 16, and Ashley, 13, both students at Mammoth Spring School. He is a 1983 graduate of Mammoth Spring High School and works at the Federal Fish Hatchery at Mammoth Spring. Greene is the son of Otey and Barbara Greene of Mammoth Spring and has been a member of the Arkansas Army National Guard for 21 years.
Sgt. England is a 1967 graduate of Mammoth Spring High School. He is the son of Freda and the late Novis England of Mammoth Spring. He leaves to miss him Kista England and Josh England, both of Mammoth Spring, and two grandchildren, Dagen, 3, and Zane, 8 months.
When not serving in the Arkansas Army National Guard, England is employed at Mammoth Spring State Park. He joined the guard in 1987.
Specialist Daniel Busch is a 1999 graduate of Mammoth Spring High School. He is the son of Danny and Pam Busch who miss him, as does his little sister, Kylee Busch, an eighth grader at Mammoth Spring School. Busch is employed as a deputy at the Izard County Sheriff's Department and lives at Mebourne, Ark.
The 224th is a direct-support maintenance company which provides a wide variety of maintenance capabilities from weapons and electronics repair to vehicle and tank repair. The company has been on a hightened state of preparedness for possible mobilization since mid-February.