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Salem-News.com Will Go to Iraq With Mobilizing Oregon Guard Unit (VIDEO)Tim King Salem-News.com
Salem-News.com reporter/photojournalist Tim King covers the mobilization ceremony of a military group that he will deploy to Iraq with to cover in-country for the next several weeks.
(SALEM, Ore.) - We are happy to announce that I will have the honor of joining a group of Oregon Guard soldiers from 2-641 Aviation who are deploying to Iraq to work in the aviation sector at Balad. The soldiers were officially mobilized this week. This will be my second opportunity to be embedded with an Oregon Guard unit at war. I spent the winter of 2006/2007 embedded with the Oregon Guard in Afghanistan.
During the special Mobilization Ceremony, around 40 members of the group were honored by people like Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski, Oregon Guard Major General Raymond F. Rees, Senate President Peter Courtney and other distinguished guests.
Family members of the soldiers about to be deployed to Balad, Iraq along with friends and fellow soldiers in attendance, amounted to a packed house. The Governor and others spoke about the commitment to the war effort that these soldiers have upheld as many enter their third or more, tour of duty.
Sergeant Major Brunk Connolly spoke about the record of this particular aviation group as they are frequently in the news for rescue operations on places like Mount Hood and involved in searches for missing people, lost hikers, etc.
Most of the soldiers in this early deployment for the 2-641 Aviation work in roles that are vital to aircraft operations like air traffic control. I look forward to filing stories about their work in this busy airfield in Iraq.
When I was in Afghanistan, I interviewed Maj. Gen. Rees during a special visit to Mazur-e-Sharif, and I interviewed Governor Kulongoski when he stopped at a base in Kabul for a day. Rees said what I saw in Afghanistan was very undeveloped compared to what I will see in Balad, where a large amount of money has been invested.
Governor Kulongoski says he looks forward to learning through the reports the amount of progress that has taken place in Iraq. I hope my camera can reveal that once I arrive there.
This is my second attempt to reach Iraq in recent months and I have been reluctant to publish anything about this trip on the off chance that something could again fall through. The previous trip involved travel with an aviation contractor and in the end a very long list of documents was deemed incomplete and I was denied travel with Evergreen Aviation. It looks good this time, the orders have been cut (embedded reporters get orders too) and I will be traveling with the Guard this time, and being part of a troop movement generally works out well. I expect to be communicating with you from over there very soon.
Watch the VIDEO report below:
Tim King is a former U.S. Marine with twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. In addition to his role as a war correspondent, this Los Angeles native serves as Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. Tim spent the winter of 2006/07 in Afghanistan with Oregon troops, and his coverage from Iraq that was set to begin in April has now commenced and will be ongoing throughout the next many weeks. Salem-News.com is the nation's only truly independent high traffic news Website, affiliated with Google News and several other major search engines and news aggregators.
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