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Loebig prepares for fourth deployment

Thursday, February 28, 2008

(Photo)
Sgt. James Loebig
THAYER -- A Thayer man, Sgt. James Loebig, is preparing for his fourth deployment with the 1138th Military Police Company with the Missouri National Guard.

He will embark on a KFOR-10 mission to Kosovo.

Loebig has served nine years in the Texas and Missouri National Guard. He is a 1995 graduate of Texarkana Arkansas High School. In recent years, he has been mobilized to serve stateside duty at Fort Leonard Wood in 2001 and Louisiana in 2005 to assist with Hurricane Katrina relief. He also spent a year deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003.

"I'm proud to defend and serve," Loebig said. "I'm carrying on a family tradition.

Loebig is the son of Mike and Vicki Loebig of Texarkana, Ariz. His father served for 23 years on Army active duty before retiring in 1993.

It's a tradition he teaches his son, Jonathan, 10. Loebig showed Jonathan Kosovo on an atlas and talked to him about the history of U.S. involvement in the area.

"His main concern was will dad be able to call," Loebig said. Unlike previous deployments, Loebig reassured his son that he'll be able to call or e-mail more often.

Loebig is employed by Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad where he works as a conductor. Loebig resides in Thayer with his son and wife Sadie.

"This is a chance to go do our job and do it well," Loebig said about the KFOR-10 mission. His hope is to get to Kosovo with everybody and come back with everybody.

He will support the NATO-led Kosovo Force mission along with approximately 1,000 other citizen-soldiers of Missouri. As part of this mission Loebig will serve with the 129th Field Artillery as an ammunition handler.

His departure for training is tentatively scheduled for the beginning of March, according to Sgt. 1st. Class Robert Lee of the 1138th Police Company.

This is the Missouri National Guard's largest single unit deployment of soldiers since World War I. According to NATO reports, the peacekeeping operation in Kosovo has been in place since June 1999. The Kosovo Force first deployed in the wake of a 78-day air campaign launched by the NATO Alliance in March 1999 to halt and reverse the humanitarian catastrophe that was then unfolding.

Currently, NATO has approximately 16,000 troops deployed in Kosovo. KFOR's presence remains crucial to guarantee security and stability in Kosovo as the diplomatic process led by the United Nations to define its future moves forward. The alliance has promised to support the security provisions of any final settlement.



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