Challenges Of Saying Goodbye To Red Bulls Heading Overseas

By Rachel Slavik, WCCO-TV

ANOKA, Minn. (WCCO) — Thousands of soldiers from across the state are preparing for a yearlong deployment to Iraq. A total of 2,400 members of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division, known as the Red Bulls, will head overseas in support of Operation New Dawn. Deployment ceremonies are planned over the coming weeks.

As 90 members of the 1st Battalion, 125th Field Artillery Unit walk down the streets of Anoka, the soldiers are also taking steps away from their family.

“Getting nervous, kinda anxious to see a new country,” said Nick Robbins, who is on his first deployment.

In all, 460 Red Bulls will deploy for training on Sunday and many are on their first tour of duty.

“Nerves, you can’t ever really get over nerves,” said Robbins.

For Robbins, that means not only saying goodbye to Samantha, his wife of three weeks, but he’ll also miss the birth of their first baby.

“I don’t like to think about it a whole lot because it breaks me down,” said Samantha Robbins, who is five months pregnant.

“It’s just another sacrifice of a soldier. It’s what we sign up for and we know our sacrifices when we do,” said Robbins.

Cory Howland and his family have already sacrificed three times. 

“It’s a whole year, so it covers the whole range. Every major family holiday, personal family holidays,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cory Howland.

Now on his fourth deployment, it’s not getting any easier for Howland’s wife, Emily.

“I don’t think I’ve gotten used to it, yet,” said Emily Howland.

A good support system always seems to be the answer on how to pull through when a loved one is overseas.

“They’re willing to help me and we help each other, so, it’ll be OK,” said Emily.

Military families have found a way to cope with separation, but it’s in those final moments before their soldier boards a bus that the reality of a year apart sinks in.

“Just stay positive, basically, and we’ll get through it,” said Robbins.

The soldiers leave for training before heading to Kuwait in a few weeks. More deployments will occur over the next few weeks. While overseas, the Red Bulls will provide security for troops in Iraq.

More from Rachel Slavik
  • HUH!?

    year long??? I thought we are out by dec.?

  • Mike

    Solders make incredible sacrifices and to that I give thanks, but our countries political leaders should be ashamed of what they hide and distort as the true reasons for fighting these conflicts.
    Our insane lust for oil and world domination has driven us to war against countries who control the resources and it’s poor people are left to defend themselves against our military that has redefined and maligned the intent by creating a Taliban boogie man and Islamic threat against our Christian nation. It’s disgusting and deplorable what our nations leaders will do to meet their expectations.

    • David

      How you going to power that old car and house Mike? wind mills? Problems with that EVIL america Mike? Try a world without the USA. If we are so EVIL, why does so much of the world want to come to this country? even to be Poor in america is better than wealthy in their own. Get a grip Mike . This is the best country in the World, Look who we are will to give a chance to govern, Obanma is the worst President we have ever had but AMERICA will be OK because we are “We the People”
      Give thanks Mike. Your an American and can spew this garbage all because of a soldier.

  • justin

    God Bless and God Speed.

  • Jenn Grembowski

    So Proud of you Nick and Sam we are here for you and the kids love you all so much.

  • Crystal Moua

    Samantha Robbins is my cousin. My thoughts and prayers are with not only her and Nick but also with every other soilder over there. I have been on a deployment away from my family and missed my son’s 1st birthday. It is not easy to sacrafice what we do… but we do it because it has to be done. God bless and come home safe!

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