After 20 hours of travel, by plane and bus, I finally made it to Camp Casey, South Korea with the remainder of Fort Hood’s 1st Brigade Combat Team soldiers. For the next several days, I will be following the mission and daily lives of Ironhorse troopers as they begin a nine-month rotation in the land of the morning calm.
For many of the 4,000 1st Brigade soldiers on the ground, this marks their first overseas assignment.
As we waited to board the plane from the Fort Hood airport Monday night, there was a sense of excitement and anticipation from the 270 soldiers traveling alongside me.
But there was also the reality of what they were leaving behind.
These are not just America’s sons and daughters - they are also mothers, fathers, husbands and wives. Many of the soldiers spent the last moments before boarding the plane with phones in hand, talking, texting and video-chatting with loved ones, saying their final goodbyes.
Within hours, these same soldiers were on the ground, ready to train alongside their brigade brothers and sisters, ready to fight at a moment’s notice.
But for all of the soldiers, life will go on back home at Fort Hood, even as they are so far away.
Some of the soldiers have young children who will grow up in the months ahead, reach new milestones, take their first steps, say their first words. Other soldiers left the Great Place with pregnant spouses, not knowing if they’d be home for their child’s birth.
As I sat on the plane, through many hours of travel, alongside America’s brave, I found myself especially grateful for their sacrifices, and thankful for the opportunity to tell their stories, both at Fort Hood and abroad.
To follow my travels in South Korea this week on social media, go to the Fort Hood Herald Facebook page, or follow us on Twitter at @KDHmilitary.