SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A deployment ceremony was held Friday at Hunter Army Airfield for two companies from the Georgia Army National Guard. In just two days, nearly 200 soldiers will be deployed to the Middle East.
The Company B, 1-169th General Support Aviation Battalion and the 935th Aviation Support Battalion are deploying in support of Operation Spartan Shield. The units have been preparing for around 22 months for this deployment. Hours have been spent training and natural disasters closer to home have been used in the training process.
"The unit has responded to multiple hurricane disaster relief efforts in the last year," said Captain Brandon Long. "Between Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Maria, you know, those were pretty big training events for us even though they were real-time recovery operations."
The 935th Aviation Support Battalion will leave in two days for Fort Hood for their final training process before they mobilize to the Middle East. The other unit will do the same in a week or so.
"I'm excited to be heading out and doing to the mission that we are going to be doing," said Long. "A little bittersweet like I said earlier. Leaving the families behind is the toughest part about today."
The families of these brave soldiers are just as sad, but they know this is what all the training comes down to.
"We've watched these guys get ready for a year. We know that they are trained well. We know that they are gonna be fine," Kathryn Long said. "There will always be that little bitty piece of our hearts that's worried every day but we just smile and keep moving on and they keep doing their job, and at the end of the day, we will see them again."
The two units are expected to be home sometime next summer.