A proper sendoff
133rd Test Squadron deploys overseas
FORT DODGE — As a young boy, Austin Wisdom, of Stanhope, dreamed of serving his country in the military, according to his mother, Trisha Wisdom.
“He told me I’m gonna’ be a soldier,” she said. “He always had in the back of his mind that this was what he wanted to do, and he didn’t let anything stop him.”
On Sunday, Trisha Wisdom said goodbye for now to her son, who boarded a bus at the Iowa Air National Guard base in Fort Dodge.
He and about 60 other servicemen and women from the 133rd Test Squadron were deployed to serve overseas.
Part of their mission will be ground radar, according to Master Sgt. Emily Hartman.
Although proud, Trisha Wisdom said it wasn’t easy to let her son leave.
“I have been on the verge of tears or crying all morning,” she said. “But I am very proud of him.”
She hopes she can continue to communicate with him as much as possible.
“A lot of it was just me reminding him to communicate and keep talking to everybody and make sure to pray and letting him know I love him and miss him.”
“There won’t be a day that we won’t think about him,” she added.
The two shared a few laughs before hugging.
“I kept asking him how he was doing, and he said he was fine,” Trisha Wisdom said. “I am not, but he is.”
“I offered to break an arm or a toe to keep him home a little longer, but he said no,” she added.
Leslie Nichols, of Evansdale, was another mom saying goodbye to one of her children.
Her daughter Maggie Nichols, of Evansdale, deployed for her first time.
“I am proud of her,” Nichols said. “But we are going to miss her. She’s a big part of our life.”
Maggie Nichols said she is ready for the challenge.
“I am nervous and excited,” she said. “A little of both.”
“I’ve never felt as patriotic as I do now,” Maggie Nichols said.
Staff Sgt. Louis L. Aten, of Waterloo, was ready, too.
“I am really eager to get going,” he said. “This has been a long spin up.”
Aten is in his ninth year of service.
His job will be to work on ground radar maintenance.
Maddie Morris, of Marion, said she looks at this as an opportunity.
Coty Newell, of Waterloo, is a senior airman.
“I am just proud to have this opportunity to gain the experience,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to do hands-on work and to be the best that I can be.”
Trevor Bourg, of Cedar Falls, was already thinking about the trip back.
“Getting back home in eight months,” he said. “That’s the only thing I am looking forward to.”
Lt. Col. Justin Faiferlick said the deployment could be shorter or longer than eight months.
Scott Frideres, of Lu Verne, is a tech sergeant.
He has served in the military for 20 years. This will be his first time deploying out of the country.
“It’s a lot of work,” he said.
His wife, Kriss Frideres, said it’s difficult to watch him leave.
“It’s a lot of stress,” she said. “A lot of worrying.”
“We don’t want them to go,” she added. “But they got to go.”
Scott Frideres said their dogs at home sensed something was up.
“For the past week, the dogs definitely knew something was going on,” he said.
Scott Frideres said he likes the structure that military life provides.
“We are all like a family,” he said. “We all take care of each other.”
Minutes before the departure, two bald eagles flew over the base.
Some took it as a sign.
“Now that’s just cool,” Melinda Mills, of Fort Dodge, said. “That’s amazing.”