Monday, February 15, 2016

Ft. Stewart Deploys Soldiers To Ukraine For Collaborative Training

FT. STEWART, USA -- More than 100 U.S. soldiers are en route to Ukraine to embark on a special military mission.

WTOC's Georgiaree Godfrey was there while the soldiers said their goodbyes and loaded the plane.

It was definitely a bittersweet moment.

Sunday was Valentine's Day, a day about spending time with loved ones.

However, for dozens of families, Sunday was about saying goodbye to their loved ones as they prepared to join forces in Ukraine.

Rain, sleet or snow.

Holiday or vacation.

When duty calls, our soldiers respond.

"Definitely not the Valentine's Day I would have hoped for," said Shannon Frymyer, wife of a deployed soldier.

"But you know, this is not something we haven't done before. It's kind of expected at this point."

200 soldiers will be stationed in Ukraine working alongside allies of the United States.

The mission is not a combat mission, but an opportunity to strengthen relationships with allies and learn effective defense operations from international troops.

"[They're going] to take part in a training mission to assist the Ukranian government in enhancing their training capacity," said Lt. Col. Nathan Minami.

"The friends we're gonna make, the partnerships we're going to make with our allies to be able to share those best practices, tactics and procedures that allies use and we use, just that cooperative effort to make both of our militaries stronger."

For the soldiers, it's the opportunity of a lifetime.

"I'm excited," said Sgt. John McInnes.

"I think it will a good opportunity to meet a lot of people, especially from a lot of different countries, and work closely with our allies and learn how they do things."

Even though the families understand the task at hand, it's still hard to say goodbye.

The soldiers will be deployed for 10 months.

The commanders say there is little threat to their safety because they will be located on the opposite side of the country where regional tensions have escalated.

Source: WTOC