Greencastle National Guard unit deploying

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The RCA Dome will be filled to capacity today, but there will be no football team. The stadium will be awash in military uniforms. The stands will be packed with military families. They will gather there to say goodbye.

In the largest Indiana National Guard deployment since WWII, 3,400 soldiers from the 76th Brigade Combat Team prepare to head for Iraq today, including approximately 50 soldiers from the Greencastle National Guard Armory.

Sergeant Kenny Boler, 47, Cloverdale, will be among the group headed to war. The Boler family will be there to wish him well, and this is not the first time they have said goodbye to a soldier.

On Oct. 16, 2005, his older brother, Sgt. Jerold Boler, was honored in a similar farewell ceremony. His wife caries memories of that day as she prepares to watch her brother-in-law go.

"I remember when we went to see my husband off -- when I saw the back side of him running to get on that bus," said Suzette Boler. "My only thought was 'Am I ever going to see him again?'"

Suzette says that life at home during a deployment is difficult, and often made up of patterns and routines. However, farewell ceremonies like today's at the RCA Dome take on a feeling of ritual.

"These are the pictures you hold onto until you see them again," she reflects, remembering her husband as he walked away. "That is why the last moment you spend with family is so important."

On June 8, 2006, Sgt. Jerold Boler was wounded when a roadside bomb struck his Humvee, earning him a purple heart.

As early as 2003, the Army News Service began reporting that casualties from Iraq and Afghanistan were suffering more head injuries than in previous wars, but no one detected Boler's traumatic brain injury until months later, and he received no treatment until he returned home to the United States in December 2006.

Today, constant seizures, memory loss, recurring blackouts, tremors, loss of motor control and severe symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have left Sgt. Jerold Boler on permanent disability. Looking back, Suzette says that the last time she saw the man she married was the day he boarded a bus for Iraq.

"My husband is still a wonderful man," Suzette said. "But he is forever changed."

As the Boler family braces itself for another deployment, she hopes that everyone gathered at the RCA dome today will be prepared.

"You're seeing the person you know for the last time," she said. "The last hug, you just don't want to let go."

Today, 3,400 Indiana National Guard soldiers will be honored in a private ceremony before boarding buses bound for Ft. Stewart, Ga., and in a few months, Iraq. The Banner Graphic will provide coverage of the deployment ceremony, and as part of a multi-part series, bring you a more detailed look at the wartime contribution of the Boler family -- a look at home life during a military deployment, life after a traumatic brain injury and the family's ongoing efforts to secure amendments to the Family Military Leave Act both in Michigan and Indiana.

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  • Good Luck to all the Soldiers comming over here. Pay attention to the training you get at Ft. Stewart, in paticular the IED and convoy training. And be ready for the heat, when I arrived it was 142F and now I find 60F as cold!! Train hard and watch each others backs over here! Again Good Luck and God Bless You All And Those Who Are At Home!!

    -- Posted by Afghan Contractor on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 5:06 AM
  • Although I do not agree with most of what is going on over there. It is still not a reason to no support these men and women that are so brave. I wish them the best and may they all be safe.

    -- Posted by Hungry&Fat on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 6:24 AM
  • My husband just got back from Iraq. My prayers are with every single person and family. Keep God in your sights, those leaving and those left behind. That is the ONLY WAY you'll make it through. From one Military Wife left behind to others left behind. I support you Proudly!

    -- Posted by smltwngal on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 10:20 AM
  • I think it would be nice for the Banner to list the names of the local soldiers that are leaving/gone. Many of us know these young men & women but are not aware that they have enlisted or their whereabouts. Just a thought but God bless all of you left at home missing your family members as well as those of you that are bravely fighting for our country!

    -- Posted by bannerstuff on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 10:32 AM
  • From a soldier that is deployed: I'm originally from Greencastle. I'm active duty in the Army and stationed out of Fort Polk, LA. I just wanted to say good luck to all soldiers and their families. God Bless!

    -- Posted by goarmy895 on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 4:49 PM
  • *

    to sgt. kenny boler:

    godspeed....from a friend of your brother's (sgt. jerry boler).

    101st Abn Div. (AirAssault) "Rendezvous With Destiny!" "Night Stalkers/Phoenix Flight" For Buddy...who lived it! Whiskey for my men and beer for my horses! H.A.L.O!, 5th Grp., MACV-SOG, 160th AVN Grp., DeathFromAbove,VFW(al), ALegion(al)

    -- Posted by phoenix22 on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 6:03 PM
  • I would just like to Thank all the soldiers that are leaving. I beeply want to say THANK YOU for the work that you are doing and going to be doing. I am a PROUD TO BE AN ARMY WIFE. My husband was one of 3,500 leaving to today. I am so proud of him and what he is doing for our country. Please pray for the men and women that had to leave their families behind. I will be praying everyday for the safe return of my husband and the rest of the men and women that are over there right now. GOD BLESS.

    -- Posted by Courtney Walker on Wed, Jan 2, 2008, at 6:28 PM
  • This is just a piece from a Time Magazine interview with an Iraqi Suicide bomber, consider the mentality here..................

    In his hometown, Fallujah, he is known for his ferociousness in battle and deep religiosity. Marwan asked his commander to consider him for a suicide mission last fall but had to wait until the beginning of April for his name to be put on the list of volunteers. "When he finally agreed," Marwan recalls, "it was the happiest day of my life."

    Thats crazy, but makes me think of another quote.

    It is God's job to forgive Osama bin Laden.

    It is our job to arrange a face to face meeting.

    -- General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

    Jeff Lancaster

    -- Posted by Jeff Lancaster on Thu, Jan 3, 2008, at 10:19 AM
  • Not only do I thank God for each and every one of you who are heading off to war so that others my get a glimps of what our American Freedom is like, but I would also like to say thanks to those families who have chosen to honor their soldiers by giving up a par of their selves and sharing those they cherish so deeply with strangers of another land. The name of my great uncle, Harry Varvel, is engraved on the WWII memorial that sits on the courthouse grounds. His family misses him deeply still to this day and they still understand the cost of freedom for ourselves and for our neighbors in far off lands. God Bless Your Call!

    -- Posted by dandylyons on Wed, Jan 9, 2008, at 5:19 PM
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