Soldiers say goodbye to families before deployment

HASTINGS, Neb. (KSNB) - 46 members of the 295th Ordnance Company stood before their families Saturday to say goodbye before they are sent to the middle east for nine months. Most of these soldiers have deployed before, but for others it will be their first time being away from their families for such a long time.

46 soldiers in the Army gave their families one last hug in Hastings before they are sent off to the Middle East to serve their country. (KSNB)

“You are taking time away from you friends and family to serve our country. So on behalf of the state of Nebraska I want to say thank you,” Governor Pete Ricketts said.

Private First Class Juliana Lopez graduated from her basic training only about a month ago, so being deployed so soon she has had to learn quickly. But despite that she is proud of serving.

“I wanted to join to protect my family and the country. I wanted to make a better life for myself. I was the first person in my family to graduate and the first person to join the army. So I want to set a good example for my sisters,” Lopez said.

Her parents and cousins came to wish her well with her young cousin Juan giving an excited “Good luck!” to all the other soldiers as well.

Soldiers from across the midwest came to Hastings for this ceremony to hug their parents and kiss their kids farewell. One mother from St. Paul is sending her second son off to the middle east.

“I think he's okay with it. He's an adventurer so this will be a new experience and he's usually up for that,” Linda Bogus said.

She said it doesn't get any easier watching them go.

“They're gone and you just pray that they're okay and let them know that you're there to support them,” Bogus said.

But all of the families there know the important duty each soldier has and will be there every step of the way until they can be reunited.