Spc. Matthew Cone, of St. Louis, is one of nearly 93 Missouri National Guard Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan with the 1138th Engineer Company, of Farmington.
By M. Queiser
FARMINGTON, Mo. - Spc. Matthew Cone, of St. Louis, is one of nearly 93 Missouri National Guard Soldiers deploying to Afghanistan with the 1138th Engineer Company, of Farmington.
The unit - which draws Soldiers from the 1140th Engineer Battalion in Cape Girardeau - is part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan, and will be conducting route clearance missions.
Soldiers spent 29 days training at Camp Crowder and Camp Clark for pre-mobilization training that allowed them to learn necessary skills for deployment. Training conducted there included weapons qualifications, route clearance operations and tactics, battle drills and warrior tasks.
Currently, Soldiers are finalizing appropriate training for deployment at Fort Bliss, Texas, including squad and platoon battle drills and tasks while being in vehicles and environments similar to that in which they will encounter while deployed. After mobilization training, the Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan in mid-August.
Cone has been with the Missouri Army National Guard for four years and is a combat engineer. He deployed in 2009-2010 is support of Operation Enduring Freedom conducing route clearance missions with the 1141st Engineer Company, of Kansas City, and received an Army Achievement Medal for his service. He also received an Army Achievement Medal for his service during Operation Show-Me Rising Tide in the spring of 2011.
Having volunteered for two deployments, he finds serving and being a part of the brotherhood in the military a highly rewarding experience, said Cone.
"For me, deploying is the epitome of being a Soldier," said Cone. "It's the practical application of all the training we receive over the course of our military careers. There is no benefit, prize or amount of accomplishment one can receive than serving our community, state and country."
While deployed, the company will fall under the command and control of the 120th Engineer Battalion, Oklahoma National Guard. The Soldiers are scheduled to return in the spring of 2013.
Cone is supported in his military career by his mother, Mary Vorndam, of Stockdale, Texas; and his father, James Cone, of Bethany, Ill.
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