SC National Guardsmen Prepare To Deploy

6:31 PM, Aug 17, 2013   |    comments
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Saluda, SC (WLTX) -- More than 150 men and women with the South Carolina National Guard prepare for deployment to Afghanistan.

"I'll be holding my breath til he gets back," Jane Lester said.

Many sons, daughters, husbands and wives prepared to spend their last days in the states with loved ones.

Even seasoned guardsmen still get a little nervous.

"The fear of the unknown is normal, and I guess if you don't have that fear that's when I would worry," Sgt. Wayne Wideman said.

Wideman has deployed twice to Korea and Iraq.

His 19-year-old daughter Antonette Pough says although he's been gone before it never gets easier.

"When you have somebody that you stay in the household with and that piece is taken from you, nobody can take that place while their gone," Pough said. "You're just hoping and wishing and praying that they come back to you safe and sound.

Sgt. Nathaniel Dotson ,21, is deploying for the first time.

"I'm a little nervous, but I'm ready to go. I've been wanting to go since I got in," Dotson said.

While many guardmen will miss their family and friends, it's always the smallest ones who hold biggest places in their hearts.

"Tell my son I love him and I'll miss him and he'll be my rock when I'm overseas," Dotson said.

Some guardsmen say their family ties to the military is what made them want to join.

But John Lester said seeing his son and namesake getting ready to deploy is still jarring.

"When they talk about your son, you have a different perspective," Lester said.

"Feeling that your helping your city, your state, your country, just that you're doing things for people more than just yourself," 1st Lt. John Lester said.

The 124th Engineer Company is filled with men and women of different ranks, ethnicities and backgrounds.

But there's something we can do for each and every one.

"Keep us in your hearts and prayers. Just pray for us all," Wideman said.

A deployment ceremony will be held next week at the Saluda Armory.



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