Families Say Goodbye to 4th Brigade Soldiers - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports


Families Say Goodbye to 4th Brigade Soldiers

Their bags are packed, thrown on a truck and ready to be shipped.

It's the first step in a long emotional day for 4th Brigade Soldiers. The day the advance team begins their trip back to Iraq, leaving emotional families behind.

"As a soldier you can wrap your hands around the mission,"explains Col. Dane Barksdale, 1st battalion, 76th Field Artillery commander. "You have to take care of your soldiers because you are a leader, so you get to throw yourself into that. Whereas your wife, she gets to deal with everything she's been dealing with the whole time. But without her partner."

"You try to hold it inside, be supportive because your spouse doesn't need to see that," said Angela Crane, who's husband Mike was deploying. "And you do look to support your soldier, but you cry, how can you not?"

The tears would fall for many as they said one final goodbye to the ones they love.

Pictures had to be taken to remember the moment. A few last minute phone calls have to be made, little ones just want to be held.

Some needed words to ease their fears and have someone tell them everything will be OK. But it's not just the families that need the help. This day proves that soldiers are human too.

"You try to get that last hug, that last kiss," said Col. Barksdale. "Don't waste it."

There's no time to waste when the buses finally arrive, because that makes it all real.

Kids get that last big hug and a pat on the back, give daddy a kiss or a high five.

Others spend those last moments playing in the dirt, as mom gets a quick moment with her husband for one last long kiss goodbye.

This is the second time Angela has had to wave goodbye to her husband Mike. She says it doesn't get any easier, but knows it has to be done.

"I'm proud to see him until the last minute, proud to tell everyone that he's your guy," she said.

As the buses leave, loved ones get one last chance to say their goodbyes.

Now it's time to start planning for their next event, a welcome home party in 15 months.

This is just the first group of the 4th Brigade, 3rd ID soldiers to deploy. The rest of the nearly 4,000 troops will be leaving in waves during the next two weeks.

Reported by: Andrew Davis, andrewdavis@wtoc.com

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