CAMP ATTERBURY, IN (WAVE) - Hundreds of Kentucky National Guard troops are training to deploy to Iraq, which will be the largest mobilization from the Commonwealth since World War II. Most of the men and women aren't full-time military, and are leaving behind friends, families, and jobs.
The military invited their employers to Camp Atterbury to spend the day with their employees and see how they train so they know what they're doing when there's an open desk or extra work piling up at their vacant job.
SPC Richard Skaggs was in the military from 1988 to 1991 and then took a break for two decades.
"I re-enlisted last year to serve my country," said Skaggs.
As a civilian, Skaggs has been driving trucks for last 18 years for American Wood Fibers. His boss is supportive, but says they've had to train from within and contract business while he's gone.
"He's our only truck driver," said David Ballard with American Wood Fibers. "We feel it. We respect everything Richie's doing. We think he's about half crazy, but that's ok, and we look forward to him getting back so we can get back to normal."
More than 1,300 troops from Kentucky are training. Their mission in Iraq will be to provide security.
"I'm glad they have such specific procedures to go through to keep them safe, but it's still scary knowing that my son will be there and be part of that," said Kimberleigh Deignan, a volunteer with the Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve.
Deignan spent the day with her son who is training for deployment.
"All three of my sons are in the military and my middle son is actually in the 149th at Camp Atterbury training to go to Iraq," said Deignan.
They should deploy around the end of July and there is no specific return date, but the orders say up to 400 days or until the mission is finished.