Arkansas Soldiers Prepare for Iraqi Deployment

October 7, 2003 -- Posted at 6:45 P.M.

WALNUT RIDGE, AR -- As they train for their upcoming missions, the soldiers realize those they are leaving behind have tough jobs to carry out as well.

For nearly three thousand soldiers being deployed from Arkansas, Sgt. Clark Halfacre says there are other soldiers being left at home.

"It's hard to leave your family behind for such a long period of time."

Soldiers from the 39th infantry brigade are training to deploy for Operation Iraqi Freedom in a few weeks.

Sgt.  Darin Mickelson has a 14, 11, and six year old he says are starting to ask the tough questions.

"Now he's asking when are you coming home and are you going to be able to make it to our games and you know they're getting farther and fewer everyday."

The electrician says he'll proudly serve his country but he knows life at home will continue. Mickelson says loved ones keeping units running at home is equally as tough.

"Tthe mother has to be the disciplinarian and hauling two kids to ball games and stretching the bills."

In about a month these soldiers will be going to Fort Hood in Texas and then it's off to Iraq.   Right now they're getting crucial training they'll need once they get there.  Halfacre says he'll leave with mixed emotions.

"She understands that i enjoy what i do and at the same time i won't be there for her but at the same time i have a job to go do."

Twenty-four year old welder, Clark Halfacre says he's focused on getting his men ready for their arrival, while he and his wife's big arrival will happen while he's away.

"My daughter is 6 months old and then she's pregnant with one that's about two months along."

As he instructs on explosive he wonders what surprise will be waiting when he gets back.

"We don't know the names we're not for sure yet if it will be a boy or girl."

These men say they're in the same boat, they all have families they look forward to coming home to.