Around 3,500 soldiers with the Iowa Army National Guard are preparing to put their civilian lives on hold for at least one year. The troops were notified by the Defense Department last week that they could be sent to Afghanistan next fall. Staff Sergeant Jayson Mains of Cedar Rapids is one of those soldiers. His mother, Sharon Mains, was the first person Jayson called.
“He says, ‘Mom, we’ve been notified that we’re going to Afghanistan’ and my heart fell to my feet,” Sharon said. This would be the fourth overseas mission for Staff Sergeant Mains. He was part of a return celebration in 2007 after the 133rd Infantry spent time in Iraq. Mains had a feeling the phone would ring again.
“The 133rd has overexcelled on everything we’ve done, so I think it was just a matter of time until we got another call,” Mains said. His father, David Mains, is a retired Marine corporal who served in Vietnam. He says overseas duty is never easy, but he feels better that his son has more experience than when he was fresh off basic training.
“I feel better than him taking the point, like he did in Iraq, and going on patrols and securities…out there in harm’s way,” David said. Staff Sergeant Mains is already working full-time with the National Guard in Iowa City as he’s left his civilian job, in Amana, now for the third time in a decade.
By Chris Earl, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids