Deployment on Memorial Day is Family Affair for Some
Uncle and nephew head to Afghanistan together
ANCHORAGE - For hundreds of families, Memorial Day was a day not just of remembrance, but a day of emotional goodbyes.
180 airmen from the Air National Guard's 176th Wing deployed to Afghanistan Monday afternoon.
They spent the day at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson saying goodbye to their families.
Two of those men will be lucky to have each other as they go into war.
Leaving a family behind is never easy. Dennis Mobley is about to leave for his fourth tour of duty. While his three kids have to stay at home, his nephew, 19 year old Steven Wahl, will be coming with him.
“I'll be able to watch him grow as being a mechanic, and also the first time experience of deploying too,” Mobley said.
This will be Steven’s first time overseas, and his mom is happy he won't be alone.
“I'm proud of both of them,” said Kim Wahl, Steven’s mom. “I'm thankful Dennis is going with Steven because it will help him. It will help me knowing someone is taking care of him because I can't.”
Steven plans to be on his best behavior, because Uncle Dennis will be watching.
Their time together ticked down at JBER as crews prepared to deploy. Laughter was replaced with tears.
A father never gets used to saying goodbye to his kids, and a mom is always sad to send her only son into battle. But for this family, two airmen are better than one – so they can keep an eye on each other until it's time to come home.
This is the Air National Guard's 176th Wing's largest deployment in almost a decade.
The airmen flew out Monday afternoon and they're expected to be gone about four months.
Family members say they're eagerly awaiting their return.