Community Mourns Loss of Soldiers

Danielle Plante
Danielle Plante

WAHIAWA (KHNL)  -- Anytime a soldier dies, it's a tragedy. But, when 14 soldiers lose their lives in one single accident, there is "literally" grief in the air. For this military community, life goes on.

But, there is a deep sadness in the knowledge that these soldiers will never return.

Tanya Nunez's husband, John, is deployed to Northern Iraq. When she heard about the crash, she held her breath.

"The first 24 hours after something like that happens a lot of families really hold their breath. After the first 24 to 36 hours, if you haven't heard anything you kind of of know that your family member is ok. So, even though I haven't heard anything from my husband, I know he's okay."

She didn't get a dreaded "casualty notification," but she can imagine what its like.

"I can only imagine the pain that they're going through. It's really hard to know that even though they were just coming home that something happened like this, and that things can still happen in the last few months that they have left. But, my heart really goes out to them and I'm sorry for their loss."

For many, what makes it even harder is that the soldiers had already finished the 12-month tour of duty in Iraq they set out on. In April, one-year tour's in Iraq were extended to 15 months.

"So late in this particular deployment. The boys are almost coming home so it does hit very very close to everybody whose out there because even in the short time that they have left, anything can happen."

Danielle Plante has been to Iraq. Back home now, she tries to find ways to cope.

"We all just get together and are thankful that those of us that did make it back and well always remember the ones that we lost over there."

More than 6,000 Schofield soldiers deployed to Iraq right now are scheduled to begin coming home in October.