CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -- Two hundred soldiers are headed to Kuwait on a stabilizing mission in the Middle East. The sendoff service was Wednesday, but on Thursday the soldiers loaded up on buses and headed for Camp Shelby, Mississippi, before their mission takes them on to Kuwait.
"This is my fourth tour," said Sgt First Class Raymond Prestel. "It doesn't get any easier. It gets harder leaving your family."
Prestel and nearly 200 other soldiers form the Tennessee National Guard 1-181st in Chattanooga said goodbye to friends and family Thursday morning.
Prestel left three children and his wife of six months. He'll be back a years' time, but has braced them for the worst.
"If something ever happens, know that I'll always be with him forever," his wife Kim said. "He has consistently told me and the kids that he's not going to be there. And we have to hold it all together while he's gone. He constantly calls me the hero because I have to take care of everything here."
While Prester and the rest of these soldiers are overseas, the National Guard promises to do all they can to help families get by without their loved ones.
Scott O'Steen, a family assistance specialist with the National Guard, says no need or problem is too small or big. "This could range from anything like helping a wife get a washing machine fixed, to something legal, something medical. Whatever they need help with."
Unfortunately for Kim they can't help her celebrate her first wedding anniversary this October 1st. But it's something she's come to terms with.
"He's doing something very noble and it makes me very proud," she said proudly. "There will be many more to com. I can do without him for one year."
Saturday, May 25 2013 12:29 AM EDT2013-05-25 04:29:53 GMT
Legendary high school basketball coach Robert High has been told he will not be Brainerd boys' coach next season.More >>
One of the most accomplished coaching careers in Chattanooga sports history came to a sudden end Friday morning when Robert High was told he no longer would be in charge of boys' basketball at Brainerd High School.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 6:10 PM EDT2013-05-24 22:10:11 GMT
Six teenagers could do time for a crime spree in Chattanooga.More >>
Six teenagers could do time for a crime spree in Chattanooga. Police say a homeowner in the Hurricane Creek community caught the teens burglarizing their home. They carjacked the homeowner, then robbed three other people at gunpoint across town.More >>
Dan Sligh and his wife were in their pickup truck on Interstate 5 heading to a camping trip when a bridge before them disappeared in a "big puff of dust."More >>
The trucker was hauling drilling equipment when his load bumped against the steel framework over an Interstate 5 bridge. He looked in his rearview mirror and watched in horror as the span collapsed into the water behind him....More >>