First Troops Deploy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/07/03

First Troops Deploy

The green light has been given, and the infantry is on the move. About 250 soldiers from the Third Infantry Division left from Hunter Army Airfield last night. Soldier Shennika Prentice told WTOC that the operation has been "very hectic, because this was a last-minute thing. We knew we were going, but we didn't know it was going to be as soon as now."

The soldiers are now on their way to Kuwait in this first deployment. Thousands of others will soon follow.

"Everybody's got a greater sense of urgency," said Capt. Ruel Smith. "You don't get a lot of what I call, 'Why I gotta?' I get a 'Roger, sir, that's what needs to happen, I'll move out and make it happen.'"

Capt. Smith believes the green light has helped his soldiers grow up quickly.

"I've got some soldiers here who are here because they mean business," he said. "They make it easier, because they're the ones leading the charge."

But these professional soldiers have second lives. They're husbands and wives, mothers and fathers. Many use downtime to make final calls home.

"It's hard, it's rough, but I'll manage," Shennika Prentice said. "This is my fourth deployment, so I should be all right."

"I told my wife Amy goodbye, we're coming back soon, and to take care of herself cause she's the most important thing in the world to me," said Smith.

A lot of the soldiers we talked with said they're prepared for this task, and ready to defend this country.

Reported by: Ryan Young, ryoung@wtoc.com

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