Families Say Goodbye As Oklahoma Soldiers Deploy To Afghanistan

Tuesday, February 26th 2013, 6:59 am
By: Craig Day

In a church auditorium filled with family and friends, members of the 1220th Engineering Company marched in for a send-off before their deployment.

They'll soon leave for Afghanistan where they'll support the American troop draw-down.

The soldiers were urged to do their jobs and take care of each other during their mission so they can return home safely to their families.

One is 10-year-old Greg Wilkerson's dad. Fighting back tears, Greg says he doesn't want his Dad to go on his third deployment, but at the same time he's proud of him.

"I don't really like him being gone, because I can't do anything with him, or see him or anything," Greg said.

"He wants to go, but he doesn't want to go," said Robin Wilkerson, military wife.

Greg's mom says like all deployments it's hard on families at home.

2/22/2013 Related Story: Oklahoma Soldiers Being Deployed To Afghanistan, South America

"He's doing what a lot of guys don't have the guts to do," she said. "This is what he's trained for and we just have to keep in mind he's doing his job."

That job for the 1220th over the next year, nine months of it in Eastern Afghanistan, is to deconstruct forward operating bases as part of the troop draw-down. The company is made up of mostly heavy equipment operators.

Captain Josh Lawson, a father of four, leads the group.

"We're ready, we're ready to do this mission, and serve our country. Make the great state of Oklahoma proud of us," Lawson said.

Like many military spouses, Lawson's wife will be home managing the family on the homefront.

"There's a lot of emotions, but I guess the most strong emotion is I'm just so proud of him," said Angela Lawson, military wife.

During the time away, the families will stay in touch as best they can and like young Greg Wilkerson, they'll count down the days until their loved ones return.

"Ready to get it started so we can get it over with," said Angela Lawson.

"There's no greater honor than serving our country," said her husband, Captain Josh Lawson.

When they leave, the Oklahoma soldiers will head to Fort Bliss, Texas for six to eight weeks of pre mobilization training.

Then they will leave for Afghanistan.