74ºF

Virginia National Guard Soldiers prepare for heat, send messages home

In El Paso, Texas temperatures average in the mid 90s.
In El Paso, Texas temperatures average in the mid 90s. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The Virginia National Guard is in Qatar for a deployment where they will be doing base security. They are just a couple weeks into their mission overseas. WSLS 10 got an inside look at the training they go through at Ft. Bliss in Texas.  The week long final exercise tests everything they know making sure they are prepared for anything. There is no type of training that can duplicate all the things soldiers might face in deployment but they try to get as close to it as possible.

"I think we are well prepared for this mission," said Cpl. Aaron Edgerton, Virginia National Guard.

He is prepared by training in weapons and first aid, how to guard and secure a base and even what to expect when it comes to the weather.

"The heat was definitely different. Was a lot different than the humidity back at home. Just being out in the open, the dust it took a while to get acclimated to the weather," said Edgerton.

In El Paso, Texas, temperatures average in the mid 90s. In Qatar they see triple digits for months with records in the 120s. For many of these soldiers it was a shock.

"I think the most surprising thing is probably the heat and some of the animals that they have out here. It's definitely going to help in the long run when we do transition to our new post," said Spc. Amber Yung, a medic.

"Out here in the desert I was kind of surprised at the amount of dangerous animals that are around. You have scorpions, snakes, African antelope that will attack trucks and stuff like that," said Sgt. Jacob Newman, a team leader.

While they do the mission they've trained for, they have messages for everyone at home.

"We thank you very much, we appreciate your support and we couldn't do it without you," said 1st. Sgt. Doug Buntz , with Bravo Company out of Lexington.

"Don't worry. We will all be safe. We will do our best, we will perform our job well and I'll see you all in a year," said Edgerton.

"I want to go ahead and tell them to be proud and let them know that everyone is working at 110% and they should have no worries for us coming home," said Newman.

"As far as my family goes just not to worry about me, I'll be fine. I'm under some great probably the best leadership that I've been under in my eleven years in the military so far," said Sgt. John Painter, Virginia National Guard.