For the past 10 months, members of the 1194th Engineer Company have been serving in Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and Jordan. But on Aug. 27, their boots will land back home, in Ohio soil.
“I am just humbled to have him coming home. Ethan has a little sister, Alana, that he has yet to meet and a brother, Amare Johnson, that he means the world to. His girlfriend Chelsea Cavender has stayed by his side through all this and he’s got his dog, Magatha Ann, and his family and friends that have all patiently been waiting for his arrival,” explained Alison Blackburn, as her eyes welled with tears.”
Blackburn’s son, Ethan, is an E-4 Specialist with the company and this was his first deployment.
“Facebook has allowed us to keep in touch through his deployment. He has made me so proud following in the footsteps of my dad Robert Blackburn who served in the Navy and my brother, Bobby Blackburn who was in National Guard also,” Alison Blackburn said. “I’m just honored to be his mother is to say the least of what he means to me. The entire Company’s safe return means so much. There are so many emotions tied into one and grateful is the perfect word. So many have sons, brothers, daughters, sisters, and mothers that they just want to hold and he is my first born and just to be able to hold him and hug him, I have no words. Knowing that I will have my son back, alive, is the best feeling in the world.”
The Chillicothe-based unit conducted construction operations while deployed overseas. Their mission was to command and control three to five engineer platoons that construct base camps and internment facilities as well as construct, repair and maintain other infrastructures in support of the corps or division and maneuver Brigade Combat Team.
Eight of the troops were from Scioto County, one of which being SPC (Specialist) Colbie Griffith, the Daily Times spoke with Griffith on Aug. 26 while the Company was en route. The Daily Times asked Griffith about his time overseas and what he was looking forward to when landing in Ohio.
“I’m doing good, hungry at the moment,” Griffith joked. “But I’m extremely excited. I just can’t wait to get home and relax. But first I’m going to visit all the family that I haven’t seen for a long time then probably go on a vacation and relax until school starts up.” This was Griffith’s second deployment, his current SPC ranking is just a step below Sargent, which he hopes to achieve soon.
The public is invited to the unit’s welcome home ceremony Aug. 27 at 7 p.m. at the Ohio University-Chillicothe Shoemaker Center, 101 University Drive, Chillicothe, Ohio 45601.
To join the National Guard without prior service, you must meet these mandatory requirements:
- Be between the ages of 17 and 35
- Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- Be a at least a junior in high school, or have a high school diploma or a GED certificate
- Meet medical, physical and moral requirements
For more information about the National Guard, you can go online to www.nationalguard.com or contact your local recruiting office.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara