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'86 Austin grad bound for Iraq war

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

After 17 years in the National Guard, Maj. Thomas Tyler is getting his first deployment.

The Decatur native ships out Tuesday with the rest of his 1103rd battalion from Eufaula as part of the recently announced deployment that will send 640 more Alabama guardsmen to Iraq.

The 1103rd is a combat sustainment support battalion. Its job will be transporting petroleum, ammunition, food and other supplies to fellow troops.

The 75 soldiers of the 1103rd will spend two months at Fort Hood, Texas, to learn survival skills, convoy support and unit-specific training before its journey to Iraq.

Tyler, a 1986 Austin High graduate, is the son of Oran and Peggy Tyler of Decatur. His wife, Patricia Tyler, a 1990 Austin grad and the daughter of Tom and Bobbie Meyer, will remain in Eufaula with their two children.

Peggy Tyler said she is proud of her son but nervous about his deployment because his unit will be driving convoys, which have been repeated targets.

"He said, 'Mom, I'm in a desk job now and that's what I'm going to do there,' " she said.

Those were comforting words, she said, but not enough to remove her worry.

Tyler joined the National Guard in 1990 while a student at The University of Alabama. He worked for Boyd Brothers Transportation in Birmingham before becoming a full-time guardsman six years ago.

Although this is Tyler's first deployment, it's the second for the 1103rd since Sept. 11, 2001.

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