Veterans support Fort Bragg troops during deployment; some businesses impacted

Cumberland County News

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WNCN) — On Friday the tension in the Middle East hit a little closer to home for many in Fayetteville.

More troops from nearby Fort Bragg are expected to deploy soon — some as early as Saturday.

Local veterans are backing the soldiers with full support.

“If I had to put my suit on tomorrow, and deploy, I feel comfortable,” Maj. Jose Rodriguez said.

For more than a decade, Rodriguez has served in the U.S. Army.

Lately, he’s been in the Army Reserve, while running his bakery, My Heavenly Sweets, near Fort Bragg.

Serving in the military is in his blood.

“My grandpa did it, my uncle did it, my two brothers did it, and if I have to do it again, I’d do it again,” Rodriguez said.

The recent deployments to the Middle East have impacted his business. He said one employee’s husband is expected to deploy.

“She showed up in the morning crying,” Rodriguez said of the worker. “Some of them are very young and have never been in a war zone before. Their husbands have never been in a war zone.”

Rodriguez recalls being deployed to Afghanistan.

“For everybody, it’s hard. You have to leave behind your family. The people that you love,” he said. “When I was in Afghanistan, every single mission that I did, I called my wife. Because I never knew if I was ever going to return home.”

Retired Army Sgt. Tony Brown knows some of the soldiers who deployed earlier this week.

“I know, from the training I got on [Ft.] Bragg, that they got the same training, and they’ll know what to do when they get out there when the time is right,” Brown said.

He believes support from home is vital.

“We know it’s the holidays. It’s a new year, and this is not how everybody planned their year,” he said.

His mission, at home, is to help loved ones of those on the front lines.

“The worst thing that can happen is a soldier worried about what’s going on at home,” Brown said. “His head needs to be protecting his brothers to the left and the right, and his sisters to the left and the right of him.”

Brown told CBS 17, in the weeks ahead, he plans on getting in touch with families of soldiers to check on them and to see if they need anything.

Brown said he also plans on helping families with special events for occasions, such as video conferences on birthdays.

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