Local aviation unit leaves for Fort Hood
Posted at: 05/23/2012 11:45 AM
| Updated at: 05/23/2012 6:15 PM
By: Joangel Concepcion | WHEC.com
More than 50 troops, ready to go overseas, said goodbye to family and friends Wednesday. The Army National Guard soldiers are based in Rochester. They are heading to Afghanistan for the second time.
It was an emotional ceremony Wednesday morning as friends and family held each other tight. It’s the last time they’ll see each other for a very long time.
Brian Banas, NY Army National Guard, said, “We've known about the deployment for over a year but when it gets to the time of deployment it gets emotional.”
They’ve trained together for years and now these Army National Guard soldiers will fight together overseas.
Family and friends bid farewell to their loved ones as they prepared to take off to a training camp at Fort Hood. This is the last time they will see each other before their nine month mission in Afghanistan.
Allen Gearhardt, former NY Army National Guard, said, “To show support. If I was going, my family would be here as well and I have to support; they are my extended family.”
Gearhardt would be going overseas with the soldiers, but due to a serious car accident last year, he will have to stay behind.
Gearhardt said, “It's a tough day for me because these guys are like my second family. It would be nice to go with them. Feels like you're abandoning them but there's not much I can do.”
It was also a tough moment for his fellow soldiers. They say the departure won’t be the same without him.
Eric Wilczynski, NY Army National Guard, said, “Part of the brotherhood, part of our family is not going to be with us so we're going to miss him.”
This is the second deployment for this unit. The group says they’re ready for round two. They will fly out in the Army’s largest helicopter, the CH-47 in just a little over a month.
Wilczynski said, “The unit is really ready to go. We have a great group of guys who have been training together for a long time so we're ready. Let's do it!”
The CH-47 can carry more than 30 soldiers and 28,000 pounds of cargo.