412th soldiers head to Iraq for 18 months |[7/21/05]

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 21, 2005

When U.S. Army Reserves Capt. Patrick Chambers comes home from Iraq, his son Dillon probably will be saying complete sentences and may even be in preschool.

On Wednesday, the 19-month-old was in his grandfather’s arms crying “DaDa” as Chambers and 30 other Reserve members of the 412th Engineer Command were deployed to support Operation Iraqi Freedom, saying goodbyes to about 150 family members and friends for 18 months.

“It’s tough,” said Patrick Chambers, who also is leaving behind his wife, Jennifer, and sons Matthew, 8, and Tanner, 6.

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“He’d rather be held by his daddy than his granddaddy,” Patrick Chambers’ father, Mike Chambers of Vicksburg, said as he tried to calm Dillon.

Patrick Chambers has been in the Army for nearly 20 years, and this is his first tour of duty. “But I think we’re certainly prepared. We’ve assembled a very good team, and we’re very confident we’ll get the job done,” he said.

During a farewell ceremony at the George A. Morris Army Reserve Center on Porters Chapel Road the Chambers family was not alone in tears and long goodbyes.

Jennifer Wilson of Jackson videotaped her fiance