Hello's and Good-Bye's for Military Families on Oahu

J.T. Collins
J.T. Collins

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS (KHNL) - It was a bittersweet day for military families on Oahu. Just as the final wave of troops comes back home this week, another 4,000 soldiers prepare to say their goodbyes.

In about a month, the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division will leave for Iraq. The army held a deployment ceremony at Schofield Barracks on Tuesday in their honor.

It's not an easy farewell, considering the 3rd Stryker Brigade lost more than 30 Schofield soldiers in combat during its 15-month tour of duty. But loved ones came out to Sills Field to show troops, not fear, but pride.

Before they march in combat, the 2nd SBCT took its final step in saying goodbye to loved ones.

"I just hope my husband comes home safely," says one military wife, Rachel Crompton.

Some, like the little ones, aren't taking the deployment well.

"The older the kids get the more they're affected and the more the mom's affected by having a single parent at home," says Support Battalion Commander Mark D. Collins.

But many say their pride in the freedom fighters overshadow any fears that go hand-in-hand with war.

"It shows the soldiers that people care. Look how many people showed up, that they're not unwanted that what they do is important and it's not in vain," says Collins's wife, Jenny.

If there's any comfort in the send-off, the army says it's in knowing the 2nd SBCT will be armed with training and supplies that didn't exist when the war started, namely, new stryker combat vehicles.

"I would say that this is the best team that I'm actually deploying with. Out of four times {I've been deployed} I'd say this is the best team," says Collins.

As soldiers perform the ceremonial casing of the colors, putting flags away until they return home, many say they are optimistic, the Warriors will soon be back at Schofield flying their colors proudly once again.

This is the Warrior brigade's second tour of duty since the Iraq war started, and it will be their first time using the new stryker combat vehicles.

The 2nd SBCT leaves late November to early December.