A medical team from the Naval Hospital Beaufort is on its way to the Persian Gulf, taking part in Operation Enduring Freedom. Deployment orders came down a little over a week ago for a group of sailors, and early this morning the group said goodbye to family and friends.
"There's a sense of pride in being in the Navy in general, and doing this just makes it more profound," said Petty Officer Eric Horsey.
Nineteen sailors, including one doctor and 18 corpsmen from Naval Hospital Beaufort, are heading on a six-month deployment. It's a role role many of them are proud to take in.
"I'm excited, anxious, not looking forward to leaving my family, but I'm very proud and honored to be serving our country," said Lt Commander Dan Ripley.
Although most of these sailors are honored to serve in the war on terrorism, it's a duty that brings mixed emotions, especially for those like Petty Officer Joe Cahill, who will be missing out on the birth of his second child, due this week.
"Not seeing my newborn child for six months or for however long we'll be gone...it's the biggest problem I have," Cahill told us.
"Wednesday is going to be hard, but I'm planning on calling him whenever I have a contraction on his cell phone, 'Look what you did,'" said wife Kate.
This is Petty Officer Horsey's third combat deployment in 12 years, serving in Somalia, the Gulf War, and now this.
"I'm just going to do what I've got to do, just like everyone else, and come home," he said.
During the deployment, the medical team will provide medical support for a Marine unit out of the Air Station in Cherry Point, North Carolina.
"We train 365 days a year for this, and we're ready to do our job," noted Lt Commander Ripley.
We did receive word from the Naval Hospital that the sailors made it to Cherry Point. And from there, they will go to the Central Command Area of Operations in the Persian Gulf.