Soldiers leave Ft. Benning, head to Iraq - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Soldiers leave Ft. Benning, head to Iraq

January 15, 2005

Ft. Benning- Their bags may be packed, their uniforms may be on, and their weapons may be in hand, but many of these soldiers still aren't ready to leave.

"Not ready, ready, but I've got to do it. This what I signed up for," says Sgt. Bryson Finger.

One day after his daughter Maya celebrated her 4th birthday, Sgt. Bryson Finger has to say goodbye to his little girl.

"It hurts. Every time I've got to go. I think about it I'm sad, but this is how I provide for them. So this is what I've got to do, but I'm sad because I'll miss a lot of stuff, and you think about it," he says.

Sgt. Finger is one of 130 soldiers who left Ft. Benning this morning, headed to Iraq. Denise Finger is one of hundreds of wives who will try to explain to their children why daddy has to leave.

"He has to go to work somewhere else for a while. She's sad. She's like I don't want daddy to go. She's fine. She's been crying a lot but she doesn't quite understand yet," says Denise Finger.

Twenty-five year old Lt. John Anderson doesn't have to leave a wife and children behind, but his deployment is still hard.

"I've got a great family and it's still hard to leave them," he says.

He says he'll miss hanging out with family in Albany, but is mentally prepared to complete his mission.

"I'm ready. Very ready to go. I don't want to leave home, but I'm ready to go over there so some of the other guys can come home," says Lt. Anderson.

His parents are proud of their only son, but tear up as he joins his comrades.

"It's pretty tough," says his father, Chris Anderson.

"We know he's in God's hands and he'll be fine every step of the way," adds his mother, Sally Anderson.

"Lot of praying and just want him to go over and do his job and come home," says Chris Anderson.

A few minutes of goodbye hugs and kisses just aren't enough to make up for the months the soldiers will be away, but the troops say they will draw strength from the knowledge that their loved ones will be waiting when they return.

The soldiers who left Saturday morning are part of the 1st and 15th Headquarters Battalion. They are expected to be deployed for at least a year.

Posted at 4:10 PM by elaine.armstrong@walb.com