26 Soldiers Preparing For Year-Long Deployment To Kuwait

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

An Army Reserve unit based in Wichita will soon say goodbye to their families for a year as they prepare for a one-year deployment to Kuwait.

The 368th Financial Management Company will be in charge of a finance office, responsible for paying the service members and civilians there in Kuwait. On Sunday, the soldiers were honored at a farewell ceremony.

Sgt. Matthew Weishaar is getting ready to deploy for the second time in three years. In a few days, he'll have to say goodbye to his little girl.

“My daughter Jayden will be here, so we talk on the phone and then we Skype daily,” Sgt. Weishaar said.

While he's away, Sgt. Weishaar says he'll be missing a lot of major milestones, including Jayden's third birthday. While he'll still be able to speak with his entire family and even see them with Skype, he says there's nothing harder for soldiers than simply being away.

“Everyone gets together for Christmas or Thanksgiving, so they plan a big Skype session. It almost makes you more sad because you're not there," Sgt. Weishaar said.

First Lt. Camellia McKinney is the commander of the 25 soldiers. She was deployed seven years ago but this time around a lot has changed.

“I was actually an enlisted soldier so I was Private Smith then,” Lt. McKinney said.

Now, Lt. McKinney is married with two daughters. The oldest is 18 months old and the youngest just 4 months old.

"Oh it's devastating. I'll probably tear up now but it is very devastating because they are my babies and it's a totally different ball game with this deployment because I have family,” Lt. McKinney said.

Although her troops can't really prepare to say goodbye to their family, Lt. McKinney says they are prepared for their mission. To help them through the long months ahead, there's always email, Skype and pictures of loved ones waiting back home.

The soldiers will leave for training in New Jersey in about a week before heading overseas to Kuwait for nine months.


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