Families and friends say goodbye to area troops - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Families and friends say goodbye to area troops

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Fort McCoy (WQOW) - As the war in Afghanistan winds down, more than 150 area troops based in Chippewa Falls will soon be deployed to Afghanistan to help clean up from 13 years of battle.

Despite the pomp and circumstance the reality of leaving family and friends for the fog of war still lingers for area troops.

"There's always the chance that something could happen to me or any of my battle buddies," said Pfc. Jordan Hammond of Cumberland. "I think that's the only reservation that I have, but I know I have a great unit here and they're great soldiers and I know we have each other's back."

The 829th Engineering Division will soon leave for Fort Bliss, Texas before a year long deployment to Afghanistan.

"Knowing I'll be gone for a year, makes it really difficult," said Hammond. "Nothing really prepares you for the leaving process."

And while some will look back at the family they leave behind, others look forward to a new experience in a foreign land.  "I'm actually really excited to serve my country and it's going to be a great experience," said Spc. E-4 Michael Sippy from Bloomer. "I've never been out of the United States before and what they're doing is what I like to do."

The 829th will be tearing down old buildings and recovering unused equipment from 13 years of war, a challenge not only for them but also for the loved ones back home.  "The idea of being a single parent when you're not actually a single parent is tough," said Hammond's wife Amanda. "We just have to trust that god is in control and taking care of Jordan and all soldiers that are over there and that they will come home safe."

And while the day they come home is at least a year away, they can't help but think about when they get to come back.  "It's going to be one of the greatest days when I get to come back and have them in my arms," said Hammond.

For about half of the company, this is their first deployment the 829th also deployed in 2003 and 2009.

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