Families anticipate 45th deployment

Friday, August 8th 2008, 7:29 pm
By: News 9

By Adrianna Iwasinski, for NEWS 9

ENID, Okla. -- About 800 hundred members of Oklahoma's National Guard 45th fire brigade are getting ready to head to Iraq.

The unit is scheduled to leave for Ft. Hood, Texas on Aug. 18 for two to three months of training before they head overseas.

Before they leave, they are trying to plan and pack and spend as much time with their loved ones as they can.

Inside the National Guard's armory in Enid, the members of the 45th Fires Brigade are in phase one of their mobilization and Sgt. John Gau is in charge of all the bureaucracy that goes with it.

"I do all the paper pushing," Gau said.

While he won't miss all the paperwork, he will miss time with his two children, Katie and Dillion and loving wife Lisa.

Lisa is no stranger to the life of a national guard. She spent eight years doing it, but this is her husband's first trip to Iraq. He'll be away from his family for an entire year.

"Oh, I think I'm kind of in denial until the actual day comes," Lisa said. "We've been getting things ready at the home so I know I can take care of everything while he's gone, but we're just holding on to every second until he's gone."

That's why they're making the most of every precious moment.

"I know he'll be as safe as he can and come home in one piece," Lisa said.

Sgt. Gau has been with the Fires Brigade since 1997. He has served the National Guard for 22 years.

There will be a farewell ceremony for all those soldiers on Aug. 16 at the Ford Center.