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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