FT. BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) --Dozens of Fort Bragg paratroopers who were supposed to leave North Carolina last week finally deployed Thursday after weather put their departure on hold multiple times.
Thursday afternoon it was the real thing, and there were lots of long hugs and goodbye tears.
The troopers are a helicopter medevac unit, and part of the 82nd Aviation Combat Brigade. In Afghanistan, they will be on call 24/7 to rescue injured or wounded soldiers many time from combat zones.
They are headed to Afghanistan, where they will fly wounded and injured soldiers out of a combat zone to a field hospital.
The wives and families say they support their loved ones' mission, but they have tried since Saturday to deploy.
Soldiers and families say having to say goodbye four times in one week has been emotional.
"I think it's a little more difficult, just leading up to it," said Kristen Matullo, a military wife. "I think we have already said the goodbye once, laugh, so now its like, I don't know if this is going to be real."
"They get harder because you are still leaving your family what not and, they get easier, you get to used to what you have learned, at that point you can help others out that haven't," said Sgt. Woodrow Wilson, who is a medic.
"I mean, everybody is a hero, and he is a real hero too," said Dora Wilson.
For many of the air ambulance crews, this is their second or third deployment. They are expected to stay in Afghanistan about nine months.
"As medics and the crew chief, pretty much anything that we do will pretty much a make a difference whether or not a person gets back home to their family," said Sgt. Wilson.
The troops are the first wave of combat aviation brigade troops to deploy to Afghanistan. Another 1,700 or so are expected to leave in the fall.
Thursday's troops finally lifted off from Pope Army Airfield just after 10 p.m.
Report a Typo