VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – Soldiers with the Virginia National Guard’s 529th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion left Virginia Beach for Fort Hood Sunday. From there, they’ll go to Kuwait for about nine months in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Michele Kernan’s daughter, Specialist Kimberly Kernan, was one of about 70 soldiers leaving.
“I want to be strong for her, but that’s gone out the window,” said Kernan. “It’s hard to see her go.”
Governor Terry McAuliffe helped send the soldiers off.
“We honor and respect everyone who puts on that uniform,” said McAuliffe. “Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone who is going over to Kuwait.”
At first, Kernan didn’t worry too much about her daughter deploying to Kuwait.
“With the unrest in Iraq now, which is their neighbors, you don’t know what kind of situation they’re getting into when they get over there,” she said.
“It’s a very difficult situation, what’s going on today in Iraq and the issues in Syria. The Middle East is a powderkeg today, and that’s why we’re so respectful and honor their service, because they’re going into an area that is changing on a daily basis,” said McAuliffe.
Both Kernan and McAuliffe are confident the 529th is doing the right thing, and has the right tools to do it.
“If she can go over there and help in any way they can and make the unrest less so […] hopefully that will help,” Kernan said.
“We’ve got the best-trained military in the entire globe,” McAuliffe said. “Their training will come in and do what it needs to do to make sure any circumstances that come up when they’re over in the Middle East, they can handle it.”