3rd ID Soldiers Head to Iraq - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

10/29/07

3rd ID Soldiers Head to Iraq

More of our 3rd ID troops are on their way to Iraq, leaving Fort Stewart.

1st Sgt. Richard Rodriguez was going over his equipment and getting ready to go. But he had other things, more important things, on his mind. His family.

"I was hoping the time would slow down so I wouldn't have to leave the family behind but actually I was making sure everything was in there and going back to flashbacks of being with my family," said Rodriguez.

He'll be away from them for more than a year.

"Well, of course it's emotional, because we've been together for so long and we're a pretty tight family," said Rodriguez. "It's hard because I know I'm going to be gone for a long time. And I hope nothing happens."

But even though he'll miss his family, Rodriguez knows he has to focus on his mission. This is his second tour in Iraq and he is responsible for the wellbeing of nearly 100 soldiers.

"That's the hardest thing for me," he said. "My job as a non-commissioned officer is to make sure that the safety of those soldiers is taken care of and my goal is to bring them back home in one piece."

This deployment isn't hard only for the troops. Nancy Rodriguez says the toughest part about this whole deployment is that her husband will be gone for at least 15 months.

"We're just praying for him to be safe and his troops," she said. "I'll be waiting for him here. We've been married for too long and I'll be waiting for my husband."

Rodriguez says he doesn't plan on letting her down.

"We're going to fulfill our mission and I want to bring my troops back home safely," said Rodriguez.

Almost 200 4th Brigade soldiers deployed today. 

Reported by:  David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com

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