1037th Departs for Wisconsin

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -Tuesday Morning as hundreds of family members and well-wishers waved goodbye-- members of the 1037th Route Clearance Company departed Jonesboro for Fort McCoy, Wisconsin... Their last stop before deploying to Afghanistan.   

Nearly 200 members of the 1037th and family gathered Tuesday morning at the National Guard Armory on the ASU campus .
Even before the sun rose preparations were being made for the departure. Baggage was being loaded on 5 ton trucks for the trip to the Memphis airport and volunteers were preparing pancakes and sausage and eggs and bacon for the troops and family members.
It was a time for families to sit and have one more breakfast together before the long separation.

Even though many of the departing troops have been deployed overseas before...

Emotions ran high today as families said goodbye.

Daddies hold their child's hand and a last kiss is exchanged before boarding the bus. 
Ginger and Quentin Bales are facing their third deployment together. Ginger told me that last time they relied on...
"...the Internet. But this time you know I don't know that it's going to be that good so we're gonna rely on letter writing. And he's not very good at letter writing."
But I asked Quentin, "You gonna keep up with your letter writing while you're gone? I will keep up with my letter writing. " He promised, we'll hold him to it.
And when families are apart those remaining often need help. Kim Barrow works at the armory. Her job is to help the families when their loved ones are gone. Kim knows how they feel, her husband is also deploying again. Kim says these send offs are very important.
"The love, the patriotism, it's just overwhelming, it always has been, it's fabulous."
 Outside I spoke with Vietnam veteran Carl Mosby who was part of the breakfast crew and a VFW member.
Carl says there are big differences between today's departure and his departure to Vietnam.
"Today you had others families members gathering around and seeing everybody go. I left my wife and 4 kids, caught a plane went to California and right on over to Southeast Asia. "

 A little after 8 with last goodbyes said, the busses rolled up the street heading to Memphis and a charter flight to Camp McCoy.

Their departure leaves a hollow space in our hearts. Be careful guys, see you in the Fall.

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