WEST JORDAN, Utah -- Sixty soldiers were scheduled to leave Utah this weekend for a 12-month deployment in Kosovo; the first batch left Saturday morning from the Utah Guard's Army Aviation support facility in West Jordan.
Weather prevented two groups who departed Sunday from reaching their destination; one group was stuck in Dallas while the others stayed in Utah.
Capt. Adam Sherman was one of the soldiers who stayed in the state, and he said it was a nice surprise.
"We have another day with our families, which is good for us, not so good for the folks that have left," he said.
It was a cold and emotional morning Saturday as soldiers said goodbye to their loved ones and boarded a Blackhawk helicopter headed for a 12-month deployment in southeastern Europe.
The 60 soldiers in the National Guard’s 2nd battalion, 211th Aviation, will provide medical evacuation and airlift capabilities to NATO forces in Kosovo, according to a press release.
There were a lot of tears shed, pictures taken, and kisses and hugs given as they said their goodbyes, but every soldier who spoke with FOX 13 News said it’s an honor to represent the country on such a mission.
First Lt. Brad Ellertson is a company commander, and he said serving is worth the sacrifice.
“Initially I was excited,” he said. “It’s hard to leave your family and friends for a year, but it’s a great opportunity to go serve your country and help those who need help.”
Kayce Lowry, Chief Warrant Officer 3, said there are a range of emotions during a deployment.
“It’s a bittersweet scenario, but you know it’s patriotism,” she said. “We love what we do.”
The 60 soldiers will first travel to Fort Hood in Texas for a few weeks of training, then it’s off to Europe.