Schofield spouses eager for soldiers to return

Col. Matthew Kelley
Col. Matthew Kelley
Elizabeth Terry
Elizabeth Terry

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email

WAHIAWA (HawaiiNewsNow) - President Barack Obama's announcement that America's war in Iraq is coming to a close adds urgency to the exodus of troops and equipment  It gives Kate Dempsey and Elizabeth Terry confirmation their spouses are coming home.

Dempsey's husband, Staff Sgt. Mike Dempsey, has been in Iraq since May.

"I'll give him a hug and kiss and tell him I love him and that I've missed him," Kate Dempsey said.

There are about 700 Schofield soldiers doing what the army calls "command and control."

"They're also in motor pools. They're closing down bases. They're packing up equipment. It's all part of the effort of withdrawing and meeting the 31 December deadline," 25th Infantry Division Col. Matthew Kelley said.

U.S. forces have fought in Iraq since 2003.

Schofield soldiers will return in groups between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It will end the long distance relationship Lt. Col. Joseph Terry has had with his family through two deployments.

"We love to Skype," Elizabeth Terry said. "Our youngest is in band this year in middle school. She's able to play her trombone and practice with dad, who is a trombone player. So it's been really precious for us, those moments when we Skype."

Ninety-five Schofield soldiers died fighting in Iraq. The 25th Infantry Division will be the last American boots on the ground.

"It's historic to have the 25th Infantry Division associated with being the last troops there," Kelley said. "We've had the blood, the treasure, that the United States has put into that country. Now we get to close it out with honor and dignity."

Schofield's troops are in central and southern Iraq. The distance between that time zone and home is shrinking by the day.

"Oh, absolutely! You're going to make me cry now," Terry said.

"Just being in the same place again. Even though we get to talk, it's not quite the same as being able to be face to face in person," Dempsey said.

That will happen soon.

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