PEORIA- A Peoria based army aviation unit is now on active duty, and the soldiers are preparing for goodbye.
"Walking in here to this hangar the realization that this is really happening really starts to hit home with you," said Roger Gibbens.
For him, this deployment ceremony means he's that much closer to seeing his son, Joseph leave. Josheph Gibbens' unit preparing for a mission in Afghanistan. He'll be gone for almost a year, so Joseph is cherishing the last moments with his 2-year old son.
"Just thinking about how he's going to react because he's too little to understand that I'm going away to do something. I'm just going to not be there anymore and he's not going to understand why. That's the hardest part for me," Joseph said.
He's sad about who he's leaving behind, and what he'll miss while he's gone.
"I'll come home to a 3-month-old new addition, don't know if it's a boy or a girl yet, really excited to find out," Joseph said.
Kara Heuer took a snapshot of this day to hold onto when her family is oceans apart.
"I'm trying to hold it together, not cry. The girls last night at bed both cried they were tired but they were both crying , I don't want my daddy to leave, I'm going to miss my daddy," Heuer said.
Major Pulcher know's the sacrifice his battalion is making.
"Primary goal is to bring every single one of these troops home safely," Pulcher said.
These National Guard troops have one more night at home with their families before they leave early Saturday morning for training. First they'll go to Fort Hood in Texas for training, then they ship off to Afghanistan.
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