The 25th Infantry Division heads off for another deployment

Lt. Col. Sam Whitehurst
Lt. Col. Sam Whitehurst
Lt. Governor Duke Aiona
Lt. Governor Duke Aiona

By Stephanie Lum - bio | email

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS(KHNL) -  Another quick turn-around for our troops as soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division prepare to return to Iraq once again. A moving ceremony was held at Schofield Friday morning as they begin deployment to the war-torn region.

It's pomp and circumstance at Schofield Barracks, but the mood is not reflected in the uplifting music.

Instead, it's serious faces on the soldiers of the 25th Infantry Division as they answer the call to duty for the third time.

"The time has come once again for 25th infantry division to leave tranquil Hawaii for rugged hostile cities and deserts of Iraq," said Commanding General Robert Caslen Junior.

This same time, last year they deployed and for families, the departures never get easier.

"Leaving each other very soon is always tough but being here in Hawaii makes it a little easier with the ohana we have," said Lt. Colonel Sam Whitehurst.

"I think think the hardest thing in the military is leaving behind our spouse. She has to take care of everything while we're gone and it definitely makes it easier if we're in the same area," said Sgt. Dominic McDonald.

"We will not let you down," said Caslen to the crowd gathered to wish them well. "Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we will keep you in ours."

As the red, white and blue flies proudly, these soldiers say they are willing to risk it all for our freedom.

A great sacrifice, we are all thankful for.

"Mahalo, thank you for stepping forward to lead the nation on the battle field so those of us at home can enjoy a more peaceful world," said Lt. Governor Duke Aiona.

The soldiers will be in Iraq for twelve months. Among their duties, strengthening Iraqi security forces in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.