Idaho Army families say farewell to soldiers preparing to deploy

Posted at 7:02 PM, Jul 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-29 13:28:58-04

In a ceremony marked by support, love, and patriotism, family and friends gathered to send off a team of about 25 Army Reserve Soldiers-- the majority of them from Idaho-- as they prepare to deploy to the Middle East for roughly nine months.

For fourth-generation Army Soldier Joshua Mason and his family, the separation comes at an emotionally tricky time.

"December and January is not a good time for us, because we have Christmas. And then our anniversary is December 31st, and then [my son's] birthday is January 4th, and we have another baby on the way, and her due date is January's a lot to miss out on," said Mason.

But he says that makes coming home all the better.

"When you get home, when you see each other for the first time. It's kind of like -- all those emotions you just hold on to-- it's just all of that that you had for those holidays, birthdays, events that you missed out on," Mason said. "It kind of all floods back at the same time. It's a-- it's a nice feeling."

For team commander Captain James Lilly, a similar concern comes to mind.

"I'm gonna miss my wife," Lilly said.

But he's hoping camaraderie will help them pull through.

"The soldiers are very good at taking care of each other, and, watching out for each other, so there's a good support group within the unit," he said. "And then back for the families, we have an FRG program, which is a family readiness program, where all the families are able to stay in touch and provide support for each other."

A support that some army families are also receiving from their closest loved ones. Mason's mother-in-law aims to step in to help as much as she can.

"It's really hard for her and my grandson. And I want to be of support to them and I know it's really hard on Josh having to leave," she said. "I just want to be there to support them."

Despite everything, the Movement Control Team seems to have their eye on the prize.

"We try to stay stress-free," said Lilly. "And I think if we're able to keep that mentality overseas, it'll help us keep our head straights."

"It's just, ya know, continue the mission. Get it done," said Mason.