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139th SFS prepare for six month stint

Members of the 139th Security Forces Squadron train for an upcoming deployment to Iraq, Sunday, April 3, 2011, on Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kelsey Stuart)

Members of the 139th Security Forces Squadron train for an upcoming deployment to Iraq, Sunday, April 3, 2011, on Rosecrans Memorial Airport, St. Joseph, Mo. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Kelsey Stuart)

ST. JOSEPH, Mo -- Members of the 139th Security Forces Squadron have been preparing for a deployment over the last several months. Everything from computer based training to field training exercises under the night sky using night vision equipment.

They will be joining the 447th Air Expeditionary Group in Iraq and working with their active duty counterparts. Part of their mission includes 12-hour shifts on entry control points as well as some administrative work. They leave early next month.

"It's a lot different now," said Master Sgt. Ted McGarry who first deployed with the 139th SFS in 2001 - 2002 in support of operation Southern Watch. "[There are] different uniforms, weaponry, and the technology is much more advanced."

McGarry, along with several other members of his squadron, found out they would be deploying about one year ago. "We knew [our] time was coming up, and everyone pretty much wanted to go, and that helps with morale," he said.

Staff Sgt. Eric Rice, a full-time student at the University of Missouri-Columba, says they will be able to use social media sites like Skype and Facebook to keep in contact with family back home.

Rice said he is excited to go on his first deployment.

Airman 1st Class Kelsey Stuart contributed to this story.