Tearful Families Say Farewell To Soldiers Deploying To Iraq - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Tearful Families Say Farewell To Soldiers Deploying To Iraq

"We know we're leaving pretty soon, and we've got to do what we've got to do. We're going to be all right," says Spc. John Molina, deploying with 30 Palestine National Guardsmen to Iraq.  They're part of the "4th Texas" -- the 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment.

For the families, it was a day they hoped wouldn't come.  For the soldiers -- many of them -- it's back to the fight.

"They got back stateside the day before our second anniversary," says Pam Harvey, whose husband, Sgt. Joe Harvey, was in Afghanistan.

"And we weren't together then, and today's our third anniversary and he won't probably be back before our fourth," she says.

Sgt. Curtis Pharis plays with his young son, C.J., who is dressed in uniform as well.  Curtis, too, was deployed to Afghanistan before.

"When I was over there, I knew that we were doing a lot of good over there.  A lot of good came from it, and a lot of times you just see the bad," he says. 

"It's exciting because it's what it's trained to do, but it's sorrow because we're leaving our families," says his brother, Sgt. Richard Pharis.

"My God is bigger than anything that's over there, so I'm not worried about them," Pam Harvey says of her soldiers.

These soldiers joined other guardsmen from Kilgore and other East Texas cities.  They'll be an 800 soldier force heading to training at Fort Shelby, Miss. before going to Iraq.  Once they're there, they'll be there for about a year.  The nature of their mission is not being released.

Morgan Palmer, Reporting morganpalmer@kltv.com

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