OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) — Members of the Kentucky National Guard gathered at the Owensboro Convention Center on Wednesday ahead of deployment to the Middle East.
The soliders focused on readiness procedures like insurance and family benefits, but soon they will be leaving home.
Behind the paper work, there are real people and families watching their loved ones leave.
“We’ve been married for about three months, but seen each other for a month’s worth of it,” said Sgt. Adam Runyon.
Most newlyweds spend the first months of marriage settling in to a new normal.
“We just got from our honeymoon about a week ago,” laughs Becca Runyon.
But the Runyons’ normal is different.
“I went to a training thing for about three or four weeks… then I came back ten days. Then I had another three week training thing, and I came back,” said Sgt. Runyon. “The big part of our relationship, the first eight months was long distance.”
Sgt. Adam Runyon will not spend much of the next year with his new wife. Instead, his 206th Engineer Battalion will deploy to the Middle East.
“I’ve been doing this for 7 years, this is my first deployment. I’ve been passed around to a lot of different units, I’m really happy I got picked up for this and landed here.”
Like so many here, he is leaving behind loved ones to serve his country. But those holding down the fort at home are not without help.
“They told us all the support channels they have for the families, it’s really comforting to be here with famillies and spouses who have been through it before,” said Becca.
“While we are gone, the spouses and everyone else at home talk to each other and support each other for various things. ‘Hey, I don’t know how to do this with the military. Hey, I’ve been through this four times.'”
A yellow ribbon ceremony will send them off.
“I know he’s excited, so I’m excited for him.”
So many of them are leaving big shoes to fill in the homes they leave behind.
“We’re only as strong as our family’s are at home.”
Details on where they are going and how long they’ll be gone are confidential.
The last time the Owensboro-based unit deployed was in 2006 to Kuwait, during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
(This story was originally published on July 24, 2019)