Families send-off dozens of troops - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Families send-off dozens of troops

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Today was an emotional day for family and friends as they said goodbye to soldiers who will be deployed to 20 nations, including Iraq and Afghanistan.

Company C, 2-211th General Support Aviation Battalion unit from Waterloo is leaving as part of the Operation Enduring Freedom. For many families this is third time their soldiers have been deployed. They say each time the goodbye doesn't get any easier.  Nearly 35 families had to give heart-wrenching goodbye to their soldiers.

"It's very emotional," said Leslie Frost, wife. "It's so exciting to get them to come home, this is definitely a bitter sweet day today."

This has been a bitter sweet day for dozens of other families.

"I mean it was terrible, like you're just ready for them to go so you can start the countdown for when they come home and you can't count down unless they leave," said Allie Erickson, girlfriend.

The families knew this day was coming, but that still didn't make it any easier.

"You know what to expect and what the routine is, it doesn't get easier," said Dawn Podhajsky, wife. "Sometimes I think it's harder because the anticipation, you know what's going to happen."

Today's ceremony was followed by hugs, tears, and many different emotions.

"It's been kind of a roller coaster," said Dawn about her two children. "They've done it three times, I think it's harder the older you get because it's the more you understand, they miss their dad." 

Dads, moms, sons and daughters, all leaving Iowa for months to serve our country.

"They are gonna come back home to you, you're going to see them again, just keep that in your head, know that is the ultimate goal, you will see them again," said Ryan Meier, brother.

Some say the true heroes are those staying behind, waiting for their solders to come home.

"I gotta say that the family staying back home, they are in my mind the true heroes," said Byron Podhajsky, US Army.

Friends and family say the support from all the families and area organizations really makes the deployment easier. Families say the distance and time is worth it because of the emotional homecoming that awaits.

The soldiers will first report to Fort Hood, Texas for training and from there they will be assigned to a specific overseas location.

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