the emotions run the gamut here .... Sadness, fear, loss and pride.
Col. Danny k. Speigner says in his speech, "Soldiers, two things... Follow and use your chain of command and stay true to your values."
After some last minute advise from the brass, families and their soldiers couldn't get enough of each other ... Knowing the separation would be imminent and long ... About a year.
Lt. Col. Thomas Vickers is the 1203rd Engineer Batallion Commander. He says "I look out at the families and I see the tears in your eyes ... This is a very tough day for us."
Vickers promised the unit would care for brothers, fathers, husbands and sons, and that families back home would also be watched over.
And that's important to folks like Clay Strickland, the company commander of the 186th, who was deployed once before and says it's tougher now, "Because this time I'm married. I was a single man the first time."
While the feelings of family members are raw, soldiers are also feeling the stress.
Sgt. Devellus Butler is with the 186th engineer company. He says, "A little bit of both, anxious and nervous .... Ready to get it over with as well."
Behind each soldier is a family member trying to be brave and show support.
Like Jimmie Reeves, Sgt. Butler's Uncle. He says, "We believe in God as a protector and that God will bring him back and we do believe in freedom."
Hopes are high that a year from now each of these brave soldiers will return and tears will be of joy.
Lt. Col. Vickers adds, "Go forth and do great things for the 1203rd Engineer Battalion, state of Alabama and this great country."