160 Oklahoma Army National Guard soldiers said farewell to their families as they prepared for their deployment; they also recognized they were not the ones making the sacrifice to serve.
“From my perspective the sacrifice for my service has always come on the heals of my wife, my daughter and my son,” said Lt. Col. Jackie Ritter, the 120th Engineer Battalion’s commander.
Spc. Terry Backus is deploying for the first time since she has been married. She and her husband have been married 18 years and have three young children.
“He's never had to deal with any of this, so it's a shock for him,” said Backus.
She explained how she is already helping him get organized before she deploys in July. “I tried to list everything; I went in and made a spread sheet,” she laughed.
Backus said her mission is not the sacrifice, it’s her children who are making the sacrifice and they did not get to choose it.
“The girls, they worry about their mom,” said Backus.
She will miss listening to their story time.
“Every night we make up short stories,” she said. “They all have their own versions of the Three Little Pigs and each time it’s different!”
“My little one, she tries to follow the stories when she tells it and she gets the sticks and the stones part right but nine times out of ten it's the pigs going after the wolf.”
Even though they will be thousands of miles apart, sacrifice will never get in the way of their tradition.
“I don't know we really say good-bye, we just say I’ll see you later,” said Lt. Col. Ritter.
The troop will be back wither next spring or summer.
The last time the 120th Engineer Battalion was deployed was in 2004 to Iraq for about ten months.