Schofield Couple Gets Ready For Iraq

Glen Helberg
Glen Helberg
Shannon Helberg
Shannon Helberg

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL) - The Department of Defense taps more Schofield soldiers to deploy to Iraq. The announcement came Tuesday morning, which means units from the 2nd Stryker Brigade and nine other Army units will leave before the end of the year.

Captain Glen Helberg smiles for his wife Shannon as takes his picture. A member of the 2nd Stryker Brigade, he will ship out to Iraq at the end of the year.

"It's something we kind of expected," he said. "It wasn't really a question of if; it was a question of when."

This is Glen's second deployment. He served in Afghanistan back in 2002, while his wife stayed behind.

"It was a lot harder I think because I saw a lot of stuff on CNN and there wasn't a lot of the detailed information on what unit and where it was," said his wife Captain Shannon Helberg.

But this time around, she is also being deployed. Shannon is a military intelligence officer with the 2nd Brigade.

"That's what you train to do, that's what you want to do," she said. "That's why you join the Army. So we're both pretty excited."

One couple. Two officers. And this time, one deployment.

Glen and Shannon met at West Point, where a friendship blossomed into love.

"I just love him," said Shannon Helberg. "He's just awesome. He's always there to support me. He's funny. I don't know. He's like the perfect match for me."

They married in 2001, just months before Glen left for Afghanistan.

"I got really lucky," said Shannon Helberg. "I married my best friend."

For this deployment, they'll be together, serving together.

"This is what I always wanted to do: to be in the Army, to serve," said Glen Helberg. "I'm very proud of it."

"I know he loves it as much as I do," said Shannon Helberg. "And I know he's just as proud to do what he does."

Glen's also proud of his wife.

"As proud as I possibly can be of her," he said. "She's a role model for a lot of folks around the Army, especially here in this brigade. So, I'm extremely proud of her."

A love between husband and wife. A love for their country.

The Helbergs will be among the additional 3,500 Hawaii soldiers who will be deployed. More than 7,000 Schofield soldiers from the 3rd Brigade are already in Iraq. In all, about 35,000 U.S. soldiers will go to Iraq before the end of the year.

Between now and then, members of the 2nd Brigade will go through extensive training, simulating war-time conditions.

"They have everything from Iraqi ex-patriots that live here that take us through the cultural dynamics, that take us through the negotiations that put us in the situations that allow us to really understand the theater, and understand what we're walking into," said Lieutenant Colonel David Davidson, spokesperson for the 2nd Brigade.

"We'll go through a series of missions to include live fire exercises during the course of that rotation," he added. "Once we finish, we'll be certified as an organization to deploy and go into theater."

Right now, 10 Army brigades are part of U.S. forces fighting in Iraq. The 2nd Stryker Brigade will deploy in November or December. They are scheduled for a 15-month deployment.