165th Begins to Redeploy

Some local reservists are on their way back to the Middle East today. The 165th Airlift Wing is based near the Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport, off Dean Forest Road. That's where the reservists said goodbye to their families this morning.

Many of them just got back from the Middle East about a month ago. And this morning, and over the next few days, they're facing the tough job of saying goodbye to their families again.

It was a morning of tearful farewells as Tech. Sgt. Wayne Henninger said goodbye to his wife and two young children. This is the second goodbye for the family, after the 165th Airlift Wing deployed in March. Now, back home barely a month, Sgt. Henninger is redeploying with the guard. "I feel pretty good," he said. "We've accomplished a lot. Hopefully we'll take care of it soon."

Mast. Sgt. Bill Clark just asked his fiancee Teresa to marry him this week. Leaving now is more difficult than ever. "I just stay in denial mode until we get on the airplane, then it all comes out," he told us. "It never gets any easier to say goodbye."

Over the next few days, 250 members of the 165th Airlift Wing will redeploy to the Middle East. While leaving their families after such a short time is always hard, they say they realize they have a job to do.

"This is our job," said Clark. "This is what we do. We're doing good things over there and we're supporting our troops, so I'm proud to be over there."

With a salute from their fellow airmen, they were off. As their families bravely watched them go, they waved their own goodbye until it's time to meet again.

The 165th is redeploying to an undisclosed location in the Middle East. They expect to be back in about four months.

Reported by: Liz Flynn, lflynn@wtoc.com