Family, friends gather for send-off ceremonies for deploying Wisconsin National Guard units

Posted at 6:28 PM, Feb 02, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-02 19:44:27-05

WEST BEND -- Approximately 100 Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldiers will soon be deployed. The men and women were honored at two separate send-off ceremonies in Madison and West Bend.

The Madison-based 1st Battalion, 147th Aviation has approximately 60 soldiers deploying to Kuwait. While more than 30 soldiers of the West Bend-based Company C, 1st Battalion, 168th Aviation are deploying to Afghanistan.

“I know he’s going to be smart and do the right thing so I just tell him to be safe and do a good job," Lieutenant Colonel Mary Skindrud said. "I'm very proud of him."

Lieutenant Colonel Mary Skindrud is referring to her younger brother, Chief Warrant Officer 2 (CW2) Lief Skindrud.

Lieutenant Colonel Skindrud is stationed on active duty in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, but she came home to see her brother off on his fourth deployment --a deployment that will be unlike those in years past.

“This is my first time as a pilot. The last couple times I was a crew chief or a flight engineer," Chief Warrant Officer 2 Lief Skindrud, said.

"This will be my first time in the front seat driving the helicopter," he continued.

Although Chief Warrant Officer 2 Skindrud has deployed several times in the past, he said saying goodbye to loved ones doesn't necessarily become easier.

"[I'm] leaving a girlfriend behind... it's not very fun," Chief Warrant Officer 2 Skindru said.

"[There are] a lot of emotions, I'm going through it right now," he admitted.

The send-off ceremony is a bittersweet time, but the Skindrud siblings and their colleagues all agree they find a bit of comfort when posing for family pictures, and saying their goodbyes because although the soldiers are leaving to serve their country, they're hopeful of returning home. 

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