The 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion deployed to Afghanistan the day after Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces. (May 2, 2011 / WRDW-TV)
News 12 First at Five / Monday, May 2, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- While one of the world's most wanted terrorists is dead, the War on Terror is not over. More than one hundred Fort Gordon troops deployed for Afghanistan today. News 12 was at Fort Gordon today while families said goodbye.
It was certainly an unforgettable day to be deployed to the Middle East. Less than twenty-four hours after hearing about Osama bin Laden's death, 120 Fort Gordon troops were preparing to leave home and continue fighting the War on Terror. As they left today, many of their families say they are more worried than ever before.
From the comforts of Augusta to combat in Afghanistan, the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion is packed and ready to go. "No words can describe it. I'm scared. Nervous. I'm proud of my husband. Somebody's gotta do the job, and he's a very brave man. I love him very much." Danielle Hampsmire and her husband, Staff Sergeant Christopher Hampsmire, take pictures with their little girls who are three and nine years old.
Christopher says he is anxious to leave, this time for his fourth deployment. "It's just another deployment. It's just another thing. Just gonna go do what I have to do and get back."
But Danielle admits that to her, this is not just another deployment. The mastermind behind the September 11th attacks and the following War on Terror is now dead. "I'm excited, I'm happy that bin Laden is dead. You know, ten years- it's about time. But there are still soldiers overseas. I'm scared. I'm scared of retaliation. I'm scared of retaliation for our men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan and anywhere else. And, I'm scared of retaliation here at home."
Soldiers spend a few last minutes saying goodbye, wiping tears from their eyes. Expressions range from patriotic shouts and high-fives to last minute hugs and kisses.
Sergeant Shawn Porath gears up for his third deployment to the Middle East. "We've been working it up for quite a few months. I think everyone's ready to just go. And not prolong it any longer."
Danielle adds, "You guys make this country free. You're already heroes. Just go over there and do your job." As Christopher prepares to board the waiting buses, he passes along a message to his wife and little girls. "I love them with all my heart. And I want them to be really good for their mama. I love my wife so much. I love you, honey- take care. I love you baby."
Families wave goodbye, for now, and look forward to the soldiers of Company A returning safely next year. Fort Gordon's Public Affairs office tells News 12 Company C of the 63rd Expeditionary Signal Battalion just returned from the Middle East, and Company B is still overseas, due to come home this August.