Families bid adieu to Army Reservists headed overseas

PEWAUKEE (WITI) -- Sunday, May 5th was a tough day for families of 150 Wisconsin Army Reservists, as the soldiers headed off for a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan. For many, this will not be their first time away from loved ones.

Inside Pewaukee High School on Sunday, there was a feeling of pomp and circumstance as families filled the bleachers.

"It's a big family day today.  It's going to be full of emotions, full of goodbyes," Staff Sgt. Jason Middleton of Muskego said.

Sgt. Middleton, who is on his third deployment says the sacrifice of these men and women can be measured in missed birthdays.

"For my oldest, I missed her first and second.  I missed her fourth and fifth.  And now I'm going to miss her 12th birthday," Sgt. Middleton said.

Sgt. Middleton's 11, one-and-a-half and four-month-old daughters joined his wife in the front row as they got ready to send Dad off again.

The soldiers, with the 372nd Engineering Company are expected to be away for up to 10 months. Gov. Scott Walker was among the dignitaries wishing the group good luck and a safe return.

"I'm not too sure what the mission is.  What I do know is we are going to go in there and help tear down some of the buildings," PFC George Bauer who is on his second deployment said.

The group hopes their deployment helps speed up the countries mission of an eventual reduction of troops in Afghanistan.

"It's going to be a sad day, but it's going to be a good day," Sgt. Middleton said.

The group will first head to Fort Bliss, Texas for about a month of training before heading overseas. Other duties overseas will include training Afghanistan's military.