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Tuesday, September 13th, 2011
By Margie Wuebker
County sheriff's deputy deploying to Afghanistan
  Brad Nerderman smiles at the display of American flags erected in front of the Mercer County Detention Facility in his honor.
The 25-year-old St. Henry man, who joined the department as a corrections officer three months ago, leaves Friday for a month-long training stint in Mississippi before being deployed to Afghanistan.
"My duties at this point involve encrypting phone calls and other messages to prevent the enemy from gaining information," said Nerderman, a communications specialist with the Ohio National Guard unit based in Springfield.
In mid- to late October, the unit heads to California for a final round of training. Military officials have not indicated whether the soldiers will receive leave before heading overseas.
"We are projected to go to Afghanistan in late December or early January," Nerderman said. "However, nothing is written in stone when it comes to the military."
The soldier, the son of Bob and Linda Nerderman, admits feeling relief when Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey informed him the corrections job will be waiting when he returns in a year.
"I consider this a dream job on the road to becoming a deputy," the 2004 St. Henry High School graduate said. "My goal is to complete the Ohio Police Academy in order to obtain certification. I aspire to become a detective but that's some years away."
Nerderman joined the National Guard in November 2009 and has an eight-year commitment, including six years of active duty.
Sgt. Darrell Huber, a fellow corrections officer who recently completed a 12-month deployment in Iraq with another National Guard unit, continues to be a source of information and support for the young soldier.
"Darrell has been able to give me a lot of great tips, and it's great to be able to talk with someone who has been through an overseas deployment," Nerderman said.
The sheriff's office staff made sure Huber had all the hand sanitizer, magazines, beef jerky and other treats he needed during the tour of duty thanks to regular care packages.
"We've told Brad there also will be packages from home for him," Grey said.
The staff hosted a going-away party Monday.
"We're hoping Brad will send e-mails when he has a chance," Grey said. "I guess the only thing I have to tell him is keep your head down, stay safe and don't send us encrypted messages."
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