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Bittersweet Father’s Day For National Guard Soldiers

By Susy Solis, CBS 11 News
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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It was a bittersweet Father’s Day Celebration for hundreds of families at 136th Airlift Wind Hangar at the Joint Readiness Base in Fort Worth.

About 200 soldiers deployed Sunday morning to active duty in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, many of them fathers celebrating Father’s Day for the first time.

Spc. Jonathon Starky held his one year old son for the final few moments before his departure.

“It’s going to be tough, missing my family,” he said.

Though he has been deployed once before, it is harder this time for both he and his wife, Lorinda.

“We use Skype to talk to him and stuff. I have a little piece of him with me at home to keep me preoccupied,” she said as she looked at her one year old son. “I’m nervous and scared all at once.”

Some families have been through several deployments, but in this case, more experience does not make saying goodbye any easier.

For Jenny Gilrath, whose husband has been deployed three times before, explaining to her two year old son has been the hardest thing to deal with.

“He’s had a hard time. He’s pretty close to daddy but we’ve explained as much as we can that he’s going to go,” she said.

Hundreds of family members gathered for the goodbye ceremony.

The 144th Infantry Regiment of the Texas National Guard will provide security for various units in Afghanistan for 12 months.

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