Guard group moving out

Local soldiers are Iraq-bound

By Casey Farrar
Sentinel Staff
Published October 13, 2009
In some ways, the N.H. National Guard 238th Medical Company’s journey to war began Aug. 24, when the unit left for pre-deployment training in Texas.

But for Staff Sgt. Joseph T. Phinney of Keene, in many ways it’s just now beginning.

As the unit draws near the end of its time at Fort Hood, Phinney says he feels prepared for the next stage of the journey to Iraq in spite of the uncertainty that lies ahead.

“I still have a little bit of an empty feeling,” Phinney said in an telephone interview Sunday. “You’re going from training in the (United) States to a combat zone where things will be very different.”

Phinney is one of more than 60 members of the N.H. National Guard — which also includes Sgt. Debra S. Lukan, 43, of Keene — who will be in Iraq for a year-long deployment. A slightly smaller detachment from the Michigan National Guard has also joined up with the group. Continue reading