New Jersey soldiers prepare for deployment to Syria and Iraq

New Jersey soldiers prepare to join fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) – Soldiers from New Jersey are joining the fight against an Islamic militant group in the Middle East. This will be the largest deployment of New Jersey Army National Guard soldiers since 2008.

Lt. Col. Omar Minott is among 1,500 New Jersey Army National Guard soldiers deploying to Iraq and Syria. This is his fifth deployment to the Middle East, he said.

His deployment is part of Operation Inherent Resolve, a military campaign to defeat ISIS. 

"We have the people we need, we have the training that we need, we have the equipment that we need to fight and win," Minott said.  

Ahead of the deployment, military families watched as New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and other officials honored the soldiers from the 44th Infantry Brigade Combat Team at a special ceremony Sunday in Trenton.

"By doing your part to support Operation Inherent Resolve, you are protecting peace and prosperity not only for our state, not only for our country but for the entire free world," Murphy said.

Minott said he's ready for the dangers ahead, but being away from his family for 10 months won't be easy. 

"With a two-parent household, having me leave is a challenge with our four kids," Minott said. "But my wife is, she's pretty strong."

The wife of another soldier said it will be tough to have her husband leave, but she's relying on friends and family for support. 

"Daddy's being deployed to Iraq,"  Danielle Pruser, who has an 11-month-old daughter, said. "This is his second deployment, so we'll be excited when he comes back."

The soldiers will first head to Fort Bliss, Texas, for training before going to the Middle East. Family members said they're praying for their loved ones' safe return. 

In the meantime, families plan to keep in touch by writing letters and talking on Skype. 

"It's a little different now than when I first came in, when you had to stand in line for the one phone and wait to get connected," Minott said. 

READ MORE: "It's taken so long to be a first": Woman first Asian American to lead NJ National Guard

Read more

We and our partners use cookies to understand how you use our site, improve your experience and serve you personalized content and advertising. Read about how we use cookies in our cookie policy and how you can control them by clicking Manage Settings. By continuing to use this site, you accept these cookies.