Arizona soldiers bid farewell to families before year-long deployment
Reporter: Maggie Vespa
TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - To most of us, they are officers, protectors, warriors and heroes.
But to a precious few, they are daddies, mommies, daughters and sons.
Friday dozens of Tucson families are bidding farewell to their selfless soldiers, all the while not knowing when or whether they will see them again.
For the next twelve months they will be strictly soldiers, serving their country.
Friday PFC Laura Doughty was also, a mother leaving her girls.
"Lucky for me, I have very resilient daughters," she said. "They understand the kind of mom that they have."
An understanding that's helped her teen twins look past their pain, to a greater purpose.
"I just have pride in this like, entire country, and our soldiers, and of course my mom," said 13 year-old Olivia Long, standing with her sister Josie.
Friday, following a formal ceremony, Doughty and the other 127 members of the Arizona Army National Guard's 860th military police company savored every second of this family time.
Within hours, they'll be enroute to training at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Within weeks, it's off to Afghanistan.
"He's doing for this country what a lot of people won't," said Sue Mason.
For her and her son Sgt. Benjamin Mason, that means being brave for each other before his first deployment.
"Yeah, they've been really strong," he said. "I don't know if it's hit them yet, but they've been really good up until this point."
"Luckily we got to have Christmas," said Sue. "And he will be back for next Christmas, so it's not horrible."
In his second deployment, Sergeant Thomas Arriola knows the key is keeping in touch.
"If I can at least get in a couple words every day, that would be perfect, or every other day. Just communication is the biggest thing when you're overseas," he said.
Especially since these soldiers' greatest stress is knowing their families are left alone.
The best way to help?
"Just call them to see how they're doing. I think that's the biggest thing. Just knowing that you have support," said Carrie Arriola.
"Let us know that they're there for us if we need them and that our soldiers will be okay and that like, they're in God's hands basically," said Olivia.