Guerrero says goodbye, heads to Middle East
Three months ago, he got married. Two months ago, his wife, Karina, got pregnant.
One month ago, Angel Guerrero found out he will be deployed to the Middle East.
Guerrero, a 26-year-old who grew up in Truckee, was activated on Tuesday to go to either Afghanistan or Iraq. First, he and his Army National Guard Unit will go to Washington, D.C., for anytime from two weeks to three months. Then, the unit will join an estimated 100,000 soldiers Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said will be rotated into the Middle East early next year.
“There were rumors going around that we would be activated, but no one knew it was going to happen right away,” Guerrero said from his parents’ Truckee home Monday.
Guerrero was spending his last day at home saying his good-byes to his wife, parents and brother.
When he was 9, Guerrero moved to Truckee from Southern California with his parents. He received his diploma from Tahoe Truckee High School in 1995, and joined the U.S. Army after graduation at 18 years old.
For three years, Guerrero was on active duty in the infantry with the Army. He spent a few months in Kuwait in 1997. He said that his time in the Middle East should make him better prepared for his upcoming deployment.
“A lot of people (in his unit) don’t know what to expect,” he said. “They only know what they’ve seen on TV. I know it’s really flat, really hot and sandy.”
Now a sergeant, Guerrero has been in the Army Guard for roughly five years. Before his activation Tuesday, he was a full-time incentive manager for Guard members in Nevada; in other words, he had a desk job. He only spent one weekend per month in the field.
“It’s going to be weird to be away from my desk,” he said. “I’m not used to being in the field all of the time anymore.”
With his unit, the 3-21st Signal Company Lt. Tropo Unit, Guerrero will set up, operate and maintain a multi-channel radio station for the U.S. Army.
Typically, Guerrero said, Guard troops take care of state matters and don’t serve the federal government, but the president can call Guard members to duty at any time.
Although Guerrero said it will be difficult to leave his family and unborn child, he knows once he arrives in the Middle East, he’ll probably be allowing other soldiers to return to their families.
“It makes me feel good because some of them have been there for so long,” he said. “But I feel kind of bad that I have to leave – leave my job, my marriage.”
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