SYMRNA, Tenn. — Soldiers assigned to two Tennessee National Guard units are heading to Afghanistan for a yearlong deployment.
The Daily News Journal reports it is the first deployment for about 160 soldiers with the Smyrna-based 1176th Transportation Company. Some members of the 1175th Transportation Company's Heavy Equipment Tractor unit, which has soldiers from across the state, have deployed previously.
Family members shared tearful goodbyes Sunday at Sewart Airfield in Smyrna as the soldiers boarded planes headed to Fort Hood, Texas, where they will train for six weeks before going on to Afghanistan.
Capt. Daniel Isley says the goal of the transportation unit's deployment will be making sure combat forces "get what they need to keep the mission going."
"We'll probably also be doing retrograde operations," he said.
Spc. Jonathan Racine had tears in his eyes as he talked about having to miss the birth of his first-born child.
"I'm not really scared about anything. I just want to come home and meet my son, Waylon Cash. ... I gotta watch (the birth) on Skype. Our deployment isn't long enough for me to come home," said the 21-year-old Racine.
Six-year-old Kayleigh Bolin choked back tears as she said goodbye to her father, Tim Bolin.
"I cried last night," she said. "I already miss my dad."
Not everyone was in tears. Sgt. Morgan Mochow, whose mother, grandmother and daughter came to send her off, said she is "giddy" about the deployment.
"I'm looking forward to doing (this mission). I enjoy my job. I do paperwork for my unit. I take care of my soldiers and I feel like they're all my kids. It's a good job to have," Mochow said.
Information from: The Daily News Journal, http://www.dnj.com