Bt Stefanie Tiso, wltz.com
Story Updated: Oct 10, 2009 at 7:35 AM CDT
Nearly half of the 3rd Brigade is on its way to Iraq. About 400 soldiers flew out today from Lawson Army Airfield. But first came an emotional goodbye on Kelley Hill. For many of the soldiers and their families, these farewells have become all too common.
As 200 soldiers boarded five buses to Lawson Army Airfield, families waved, yelled “I love yous,” and got ready to move through the next twelve months. Kelly Hathaway’s husband, Maj. Jimmy Hathaway has deployed to Iraq three times with the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team. She said the truth is, that more deployments don’t make being away from her husband any easier.
“But it’s his job, it’s what he’s chosen to do, it’s what he loves to do and I mean, we support him,” she explained.
Kelly Hathaway said her best advice to spouses dealing with deployments for the first time, is to stay very busy.
Cristie Vanderhoof has been through several deployments as well. But this is the first deployment with a child. She and her husband, Sgt. Chad Vanderhoof have a six month old son.
“A lot of people say it’s a lot harder but actually I think it’s a lot easier because time goes by a little bit faster. You especially have somebody that reminds you of that person that’s gone,” said Christie.
But for her husband, the baby certainly won’t make it any easier to be away.
“(I’m) not going to be able to see him take his first word, not going to be able to see him take his first step,” said Sgt. Vanderhoof.
The main body of the 3rd Brigade Heavy Combat Team will continue deploying through the weekend and into the beginning of next week. Everyone is due in Iraq by October 22.