Clanton soldier off to Kuwait

Published 9:14 pm Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Sgt. Michael Martin shared some last moments with his daughter, Adia, Tuesday at the Fort Payne Armory before loading the bus headed for 400-day deployment in Kuwait.

For the Clanton native, it’s his second deployment to the Middle East. But this mission is not any easier.

“To me, it’s harder this time around because my daughter is older,” Martin said. “She was only one when I deployed last time. Now, she kind of knows more about what’s going on.”

Martin’s first deployment was with the 44th Co. out of Clanton and Vincent in 2004. As he gazed into his 5-year-old daughter’s eyes this time, Martin admitted it was tough.

“I think I’ve gotten more support than last time,” he said.

Inside the hangar at the Fort Payne Armory Tuesday, Pfc. Brian Owen was also saying goodbye to his family. Owen, of Florence, is celebrating his seventh year of marriage to his wife, Angie. The couple has two children, Cody, 5, and Brayden, 1.

This will be Owen’s first deployment.

“The most we’ve been apart is six months,” Angie Owen said. “That was when he was in basic training.”

Brian Owen admitted it would tough being away from his family for the more than one-year mission.

“We’re just going with the flow,” he said.

The family said they plan to keep in touch often through email, video phone and lots of letters.

Troops headed to Fort Hood in Kileen, Texas Tuesday by bus. They are expected to be in training until leaving for the Kuwait border with Iraq in mid-July.

Many stressed community support for families of deployed troops as loved ones said goodbye in a deployment ceremony.

“I know what it is like to say goodbye to a loved one,” said Kelly Owen, wife of Randy Owen. “Please stay strong for these men and women. They need your support.”