CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Carol Anamizu hugged her daughter Sgt. Noelani DE Silva yesterday during a deployment ceremony held for the 12th Personnel Service Detachment, Hawaii Army National Guard. When asked what she thought of her daughter's deployment, Anamizu said, "Just come home."
Guard unit says aloha as soldiers head to Iraq
William DE Silva IV, 28, hid his pain behind dark sunglasses during a deployment ceremony yesterday for his wife of three years, Sgt. Noelani DE Silva.
"It's going to be hard but I'm going to adjust," he said.
Sgt. DE Silva and 14 other members of the Hawaii Army National Guard's 12th Personnel Service Detachment were to depart this morning for Iraq.
It was the detachment's first deployment since the unit was created in 1965.
The 45-person detachment was also the last unit in the Hawaii National Guard sent to fight in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Only the band has not been deployed.
The 15 members will be split into three teams that will serve in Baghdad, Talil and Al Assad. The detachment is an administration company that will help track and report casualties in Iraq.
Another 14 soldiers of the detachment will deploy to Kuwait later this month.
Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general and head of the Hawaii National Guard, said the unit will work in offices but still will need to remain vigilant.
For the past two months, the soldiers underwent combat training at Schofield Barracks and were able to return home for the weekend.
Also saying goodbye to DE Silva were her family and extended family.
"I know they need to do something, but it hurts," said her mother, Carol Anamizu.
She said her daughter thinks of the unit as a second family and wants to be with it.
Sgt. DE Silva, 30, said she wanted to give back to the National Guard for the opportunities that it gave her and to serve her country.
As for her husband, she said, "He's taking it hard but he's very supportive."
The unit expects to return in June.
Mino Maugaotega, 34, watched his wife, Sgt. Marlisa Maugaotega, carry their 10-year-old daughter yesterday and prepared himself to say goodbye.
"I'm trying to be strong here," he said. "I going to miss her a lot."
Sgt. Maugaotega, 29, said she was excited to be deployed and to serve.
"He's got it," she said of her husband. "He's going to take care of business. He's well prepared."