Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers Leave For Middle East

Thursday, June 8th 2017, 5:53 pm
By: News On 6

More than 150 Oklahoma National Guard members are on their way to the Middle East.

Soldiers said goodbye to their families Thursday at a deployment ceremony in Broken Arrow for members of the 2120th Engineer Company, 120th Engineer Battalion, 90th Troop Command.

"Just to know they are doing this for our freedom is just very overwhelming and it's just so appreciated," said Cynda McDaniel, whose son-in-law, Specialist Anthony Valdovinos, is deploying for the first time.

"I am very, very proud of him for the sacrifice he is making," McDaniel said. "I can't even imagine what it would be like."   

After the 160 soldiers said goodbye to their families, they boarded a bus that will take them to Fort Bliss. From there, the soldiers leave for the Middle East, in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the military's fight against ISIS.

"I'm scared for them, for all the guys of what they're going into," McDaniel said. "I've been watching all the children here with their dads and how they are just clinging on to them and that they have to say bye for quite a while. It's just hard."

While overseas the soldiers will do plumbing, carpentry, masonry and other work.

"It doesn't ever get any easier, no, but I'm just ready to get over there, do what we need to do and come home to my family," said Staff Sergeant Brian Bayhylle.

Specialist Jay Lenrandle echoed that sentiment.

"The main motivation is to come home safe," Lenrandle said. "It supports and motivates you even more knowing you have this backbone, home, knowing everybody's rooting for you."

Families are just trying to keep life as normal as possible while they wait for their soldiers to come back home. 

"Thank goodness for technology today that they will be able to communicate some and that will help," McDaniel said.

The soldiers are set to return next spring.