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Wold awaits deployment to Kuwait

1st Sgt. Marty Wold and his wife, Shelly, are pictured in their living room. On April 15, Wold will be deployed to Ft. Hood, Texas to get training before heading to Kuwait with the 1-151st Field Artillery from Minnesota. Photo by Jackie Grumish

On April 15, Marty Wold will leave his home in New Richmond for a new home at Camp Beuhring in Kuwait.

Wold, a New Richmond School Board member, is a first sergeant with the Minnesota-based 1-151st Field Artillery. The soldiers were given orders in February 2008 to report for deployment.

The school board granted Wold a leave of absence from his position on the school board and he will be able to run as an incumbent when he's up for election in 2010, even if he's still overseas.

Wold said he had a feeling he would be called for deployment after he heard that New Richmond-based Company B 1-128th Infantry unit was being deployed.

"(In 2004) we stood outside and waived goodbye to Company B and three months later I was gone too," Wold said.

Wold's unit will report to Ft. Hood, Texas for training before going to Kuwait, Wold said.

The April deployment will be Wold's second time overseas, he said. In 2004, he was deployed to Camp Taji, which is north of Baghdad, Iraq.

The group was put on alert during the Persian Gulf War but was never deployed, Wold said.

The unit's mission in Kuwait is providing "theatre convoy security and force protection throughout Kuwait and Iraq area of responsibility." Soldiers are responsible for convoy operations escorting logistical supplies to coalition and Iraqi forces.

Although Camp Beuhring is in a more remote area than Camp Taji was, Wold said it isn't any safer. Soldiers could spent as many as 21 days on a single mission.

"This is going to be tougher than last time," Wold said. "They will always have to be prepared for danger because they'll be on the road. Staying attentive is going to be the key and not being complacent."

He is anxious to get started, Wold said.

"Once we were told, a lot of soldiers wanted to get going and get the job done," he said.

The younger soldiers are more excited to go than the older ones, he said. Not because the older soldiers don't want to do their mission, they just don't want to leave their families and they know how hard it will be when they return, he said

"It's a long process," Marty said. "It's not just the deployment, it's the pre-deployment and post-deployment too."

It took the Wold family about two years to get back to normal, said Shelly Wold, Marty's wife. Now that they've reached that point, Marty will return to the war zone.

"I'm angry about that," Shelly said. "I just don't want to go through it again. It takes forever to get things back to normal."

Deployment is a difficult time for families, Wold said. The Wolds have three children: Josie, 17; Riley, 14; and Mari, 11.

"We're a close family," said Shelly. "We do everything together. Things will be totally different when he's gone."

His absence will be harder to deal with than the thought of danger, Marty said.

"Separation has the biggest effect," he said. "That compounded with 'you'll be in harm's way.'"

According to the orders, the soldier will be gone no more than 399 days, which means Wold might miss New Richmond's 2010 graduation -- when his daughter Josie graduates.

"It's the biggest event in her life so far," said Shelly.

Each child was affected differently during the first deployment, Shelly said.

"Josie is pretty tough," Shelly said. "She has a hard shell."

Marty's first deployment resulted in a more mature attitude, Shelly said. For example, when Josie would hear classmates argue about petty things, she couldn't believe it or relate because she had bigger things to worry about.

Mari, the Wold's youngest, didn't worry much because she was too young to understand.

"She just thought he was in England," Shelly said with a smile. "She didn't understand."

Riley was a different story.

When Marty was deployed, Riley withdrew from his family and he wouldn't talk to Marty while he was away. When the family dropped Marty off at the airport, Riley was reading a book and would barely put it down to hug his father goodbye, Shelly said. But it's not because he didn't care. It was a defense mechanism.

Shortly after Marty was deployed in 2004, Camp Taji was featured on television.

"Riley spent the entire weekend watching that," Shelly said. "He was glued to the TV and it was almost as if he was hoping to see his dad."

The camera crews had left Camp Taji before Marty's unit arrived, but it was nice to see the area and know what things were when Marty called home.

Shelly said she'll miss her best friend while he's gone, but she isn't worried about being on her own with the three kids.

"The community is helpful," she said. "Last time someone plowed my driveway when it snowed and that's what makes your day. I don't know who it was... someone in a red truck."

Neighborly actions like the one above give Marty a piece of mind when he leaves, he said.

"New Richmond still has that small town care," Marty said.

Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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