SARANAC LAKE - Local infantrymen will mobilize today for service in Kuwait.
Pvt. Todd Stevens, 25, of Saranac Lake, Spc. Joshua Euber, 20, of Vermontville, and Pfc. Travis Wood, of Vermontville, will be among nearly 50 members of the New York Army National Guard's Company A, 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment who will be honored during a ceremony at the state armory in Morrisonville beginning at 9:30 this morning. They will then travel to Camp Shelby, Miss., for two months of pre-deployment training before heading to Kuwait.
Stevens is the son of Sharon and Bernie Stevens, also of Saranac Lake, and has two young children: Lucas, 1, and Claira, 3.
"I'm proud of him, but it's hard to say goodbye," Sharon said.
Stevens' girlfriend of nearly five years, Lyndsay Burgess, told the Enterprise it hasn't really hit her yet that her boyfriend is leaving.
"You just take it as it goes," Burgess said. "Our whole relationship, since we've been together, we've had to deal with shorter separations. He was in basic training for three months after we met; then I was in college for three months. So we spent the first six months of our relationship long distance. And then every year he's gone for a month. For a year, it's kind of scary, but I at least know a little bit of what it's going to be like."
Stevens is currently on drill in the Plattsburgh area and could not be reached by phone on Friday.
Euber is the son of Helena Hough of Vermontville and Chris Euber Jr. of Vermontville. He has one brother, Brandon, 17, and a sister, Cassandra, 14. His stepfather is Richard Hough, also of Vermontville.
Helena Hough said her son is looking forward to his mission.
"I'm going to miss him," she said. "He's young, and it's going to be a long time before I see him again; that's the hard part for the family."
Hough said she's "very proud" of her son, whom she described as self-driven and "very motivated abut his deployment.
"I'm proud of his accomplishments," she said.
First Lt. Robert Freed said today's event is geared toward families and soldiers. It will begin with an invocation by a military chaplain, followed by remarks from local elected officials. Freed added that senior ranking officers will offer words of encouragement.
According to Freed, the soldiers will spend two months at Camp Shelby, where they will engage in "intense and in-depth training" to prepare them for their mission in Kuwait.
"There's hundreds of tasks that the Army does to certify that they will be safe and capable of performing the mission they're tasked with," Freed said.
A press release issued by the New York State Division of Military & Naval Affairs said the soldiers will support "security operations in Kuwait and other duties the Army requires." Freed said the exact nature of the mission is "up in the air as far as what our assignment is going to be."
The deployment will last for one year, beginning today.