Schofield Barracks Soldiers Making Their Way Home From Iraq

Maghen Lathrop
Maghen Lathrop

WHEELER ARMY AIRFIELD (KHNL) -- After 15 months in Iraq, hundreds of Hawaii-based, Schofield Barracks Soldiers are making their way home.

For the past 15 months, Maghen Lathrop has felt like a single parent.

"Its hard because you're not a single parent, but its almost harder than being a single parent because you spend the whole time just waiting. And, you're trying to continue your life as much as you can but you don't, your just waiting for them to come home and you cant move on," she said as she waited for her husband to arrive in the Wheeler Army Airfield re-deployment hangar.

It's the first time she's been through a deployment this long, but she's no rookie. Her husband was only home for 10 months after the first year he spent in Iraq.

"It just drags on too much. You miss double birthdays double holidays -- its hard enough missing them once. But, when you miss them over and over again it makes it even harder."

Sergeant Sean Lathrop is home safe from Iraq for the second time, and his family couldn't be happier.

"It's the second time around it was a little easier, until they told us we were going to stay longer -- that made it more difficult," said Sgt. Lathrop.

"Daddy, I cant believe you'll be home for my birthday," squealed 5-year-old Chase Lathrop as he pulled his dad leg.

"He's just happy I'm home for his birthday, his birthday's next month," explained his dad.

Sean was already in Iraq on his son's birthday last year. But, this year he's making it home just in time to celebrate. 5-year-old chase can barely contain his excitement.

"For my last years birthday he wasn't there, right daddy?" asked Chase.

"Yeah, I missed the last one, I know. I missed the last one, but I told you I'd be home for this one," replied his dad.

Dad kept his promise, and the re-united couple says communication is the key to making it through the time apart.

"Just try to talk to your soldier as much as you can. Communication is the only way you can make it."

Between now and November, most of the 7,000 Schofield Soldiers deployed to Iraq, will return. But, in November, another 4,000 schofield soldier will begin deploying to Iraq. Many of them are on their second or third deployment to the region.