At a ceremony Sunday, 35 Indiana National Guard members said goodbye to their families as they departed on a yearlong deployment to Afghanistan.
The members of the 139th field artillery unit will be responsible for monitoring radar, helping to spot and stop artillery being fired at troops overseas. The group is highly specialized, with more than 20 members deploying for the first time.
“I’m ready to get over there and just do the best job that we can do,” Spc. Bradley Henry said.
Henry, who is on his first deployment, is expecting his first child in January. He plans to use Skype and other technology to see his baby during the deployment.
“It’s just scary to be alone,” Henry’s wife Nicole said.
Unit Commander Dan Rector, leaving for his second deployment, said goodbye to his two sons. Since both Dane, 9, and Caleb, 6, are older this time around, Rector said it had been a more difficult adjustment.
“I think the reality of it is a little bit more intense for both of them this time around,” Rector said.
“I’ll be sad once he leaves, but I can’t wait until he comes back,” Rector’s son Caleb said.
Some of the soldiers’ families will be able to spend Christmas with them at Ft. Bliss in Texas. After several weeks of training, the unit will leave for Afghanistan around the beginning of January.