Families say goodbyes to deploying soldiers - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Families say goodbyes to deploying soldiers

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 MADISON (WKOW)—Seven Wisconsin National Guard soldiers are headed to Afghanistan and were honored with a  send-off ceremony Thursday morning.

The soldiers are part of the Madison-based Detachment 52 Operational Support Airlift Command and their mission will be to fly a C26 fixed wing aircraft and conduct day and night airlift missions, transporting critical personnel. The group is lead by their commander, Chief Warrant Officer 4, Arthur Hebblewhite.

This is Hebblewhite’s first deployment. He leaves behind a wife and three kids, ages 13, 11 and 9.

“In my opinion, he is the best person in the world,” said 9-year-old Aaron.

Hebblewhite and his wife, Rebecca, found out about the deployment last fall and have worked to prepare their kids.

“We've just been talking together, as a family, about the changes and what it's going to mean and the kids are going to take on more responsibilities,” Rebecca said.

And his kids say the news their dad was headed overseas didn’t come as a surprise.

“I knew it was going to happen at some point,” said 13-year-old Rachael Hebblewhite.

“We're all going to have to work together,” added 11-year-old Olivia Hebblewhite.

But the news hit 9-year-old Aaron the hardest.

"I tried not to cry, but there was tears coming down my eyes,” Aaron said. “It was kind of like a daymare, instead of a nightmare."

The commander says he wants his family to conduct business as usual while he’s gone.

“Just do good in school, have fun, keep doing what you're doing,” Hebblewhite said. “Don't worry about dad. I'll be fine.”

And like all the Hebblewhites, Aaron is sad to see him go but proud to be the son of a soldier.

"I'll miss you when you're gone but you're going to be a true true hero," Aaron said of his dad.

The soldiers will be deployed for 9 months.
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