Emotional farewell for Wisconsin soldiers heading to Afghanstan
PEWAUKEE - While so many soldiers are returning from Afghanistan, an Army Reserve unit from Wisconsin is on the way in. The 372nd Engineering Company is tasked with breaking down military installations in the war-torn country.
Family and friends bid a patriotic farewell to the soldiers in the Pewaukee High School gym Sunday.
"Thank you," Gov. Scott Walker said during the ceremony. "Thank you to each and every one of you."
The mission for the 147 reservists is what they call 'deconstruction'. They will help take apart what the military has built up over the years in Afghanistan.
"This company of soldiers is like a tiger on leash," said Capt. Andrew Reichert, the company commander. "We're clawing and scratching and ready to be there. We're trained."
These soldiers go with heavy hearts. They leave sons, daughters and spouses at home to join with military brothers and sisters.
"Emotional. Very, very emotional," said Pvt. Matthew Medrow of Sheboygan. "We got done with the ceremony and my daughter came over and just lost it."
While separated from most of the family, a pair of cousins will deploy together. Staff Sgt. Jason Middleton is from Muskego and his younger cousin Spc. Margaret Schultz lives in Milwaukee.
"Can't ask for a better boss than the one I've got," Schultz said, referring to her higher-ranking family member. "So, I'm proud. A very proud girl."
"We've got a great family of support, so the family will be good once we're gone and we've got family support when we're over there," Middleton told TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Tom Murray.
The soldiers plan to prepare at Fort Bliss in Texas before leaving for Afghanistan in early June.