OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Dozens of metro and midwestern families are preparing to say goodbye to loved ones as they head off to the U.S. Army Reserves for a year.
The U.S. Army Reserve’s 561st Regional Support Group, headquartered in Omaha, will be deployed early next month, a process that is never easy for military families.
“I think the hardest thing is that the kids miss their dad,” said Sarah Hardin, who is married to one of the more than 70 soldiers preparing to leave. “He is an integral part of everyday life and everything he does at home is emphasized a thousand times when he is gone.”
But it’s a little easier for families like the Hardins who have moved before — her husband, Justin, doesn’t travel overseas.
Instead, this group of soldiers will go to Fort Hood, Texas.
“It’s going to be unique because it’s stateside, so we’re in the same time zone and we can communicate with our families,” says Sergeant First Class Justin Hardin. “You don’t have to worry about getting up at three in the morning to talk to them or waiting until three in the morning to call when they get off work, so that’s going to be a relief.”
On Sunday afternoon, soldiers and family members gathered at a U.S. Army Reserve center outside Elkhorn for a deployment ceremony.
“The ceremony marks our transition from being an Army Reserve unit to next month when we go to Texas and become an active duty unit,” said Col. David Newman, commander of the Texas-departure group.
Soldiers are tasked with managing and providing logistical support to assist other Army Reserve and National Guard units that are going overseas or returning to the United States.
“All of the Guard and Reserve forces that deploy to go overseas, they come from Fort Hood, and we’re going to take care of those Soldiers as they transition into the active force, administratively, logistically, medically, so we really is the unit that pushes them forward to what we call,” says Newman.
But Sunday’s event also recognized soldiers’ families.
“I hope I always remember that the first thing I say is ‘thank you’ and the last thing I say is ‘thank you,’ but it’s important when families are around for all of you to hear thank you.” important to your service,” says Gen. Christopher Lamb with the Army Reserve.
“As Soldiers, we couldn’t do our jobs alone, we couldn’t be Soldiers without the support of our families, and I use family in the big sense of family, it’s all of our connections to our community,” Newman adds.
Family members tell 6 News they are already looking forward to the day their soldiers come home late next year.
“It’s hard to say goodbye, but it doesn’t have to be,” Sarah says.
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