Army Reserve Soldiers heading to Middle East say goodbye to family and friends in Appleton
APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - As we get ready to remember those who gave their lives for this country on Memorial Day, army reserve soldiers are getting ready to deploy overseas.
“Joining the army was one of the things I’ve had the most honor of doing, one of my most proud things I’m doing,” ammunition specialist with the Army Reserve 395th Ordnance Company, Brian Garcia, shared. “I’m the first one in my family to do it. Now I have two siblings in the Airforce and I’m excited for them too, and this will be my first deployment.”
It’s also the first deployment for many of the more than 100 members of the 395th Ordnance Company who participated in Saturday’s deployment ceremony in Appleton. These army reserve soldiers are deploying to the Middle East to help with real-world ammunition oversight and to support some of our active service members overseas.
Some of the family members walking into the Grand Ballroom at the Hilton Appleton Paper Valley included Tomah native and 89B senior ammunition specialist Sarah Johnson’s twin sister, boyfriend, close friend, and two daughters all saying goodbye for the 12-month deployment.
“They’re very on board with it, very understanding,” Johnson emphasized. “They know that I’m going to be away for a long time, and we’ve talked about means of communication. It will be a long-anticipated wait before they may be able to hear from me.“
“They’ll have letters and their ways of communicating but I think this is very special because they get that one last hug before they leave,” Brett Peters, a platoon leader with the 395th Ordnance Company, highlighted.
Soldiers even had to add more chairs to seat the hundreds of family members and friends in attendance. Including some parents who aren’t strangers to such a ceremony.
“Well they’ve been through this multiple times with my older brother,” specialist with the 395th Ordnance Company Dillan Borchardt highlighted when discussing how his parents are doing when talking about his deployment. “So, they’re used to this I think. They’re definitely handling it better since this is like the sixth one now. They’re excited, I think, that I’m out of the house.”
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