Third ID Colors Deploy - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

01/20/05

Third ID Colors Deploy

The colors of the Third Infantry Division are now on their way to the Middle East, which means the official home of these soldiers will be in Iraq until their job is done. That could be a year or longer.

These deployments are never easy, especially for soldiers who leave families behind. And because they face the possibility of being killed in action, getting that last bit of reassurance just confirms the reason they need to get on board that plane.

Hidden behind body armor and strapped with weapons, many soldiers don't show you what they're feeling like inside.

"We just try to calm them down and give them a sense of assurance," said Lt. Col. Mickey Foxworth, an Army chaplain. "We laugh with those who need laughing and we cry with those who cry."

Soldiers know the destination is Iraq, but it's the enemy who remains unknown. "I feel that there are some things I'd rather be doing with my time, spending time with my beautiful baby, but they say we're going to go back over," said Spec. Brian Mintzlaff. "I think it will get better and it's going to be okay."

For many of these soldiers, the hard part is leaving their families behind and knowing they won't be seeing them in the months to come.

"Any time you separate from your family, you go through a grieving process," said Lt. Col. Foxworth. "Part of what chaplains do is to help families go through that and help them understand what normal is."

Many feel there's a chance they might not ever see them again. For soldiers deploying for the second time, the memories of the first deployment are still with them.

"It was an extreme shock, it was really different than anything any of us had ever done before," said Spec. Mintzlaff. The ones that had done it before were kind of few and far in between."

As these soldiers board the plane, all will be relying on one another and many will be relying on their faith to help get them through this deployment.

"Religion should be that which supports and guards and gives us strength for life and living," said Lt. Col. Foxworth.

The commander of the Third Infantry Division, Maj. Gen. William Webster, was also deployed this afternoon.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com

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