Arizona Army National Guard members say goodbye to family before deployment

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By Andrew Michalscheck By Andrew Michalscheck

PHOENIX -- Military families of the 819th Engineer Company of the Arizona Army National Guard face a tough day as they send off loved ones who are being deployed to Afghanistan.

“I’m very proud of my son,” said Mona Wilmot, who attended the send-off for her son.

Russell Wazzie was there for his son as well.

“He’s prepared himself,” said Wazzie. “I’m behind him all the way.”

The troops will head to Afghanistan on a mission to clear and make roads safe along with finding and neutralizing improvised explosive devices (IED’s). The job is dangerous but the soldiers are prepared for their mission.

“There’s no feeling like it in the world,” said Steven Allison of the National Guard.

Deployment is a huge sacrifice for both soldiers and their loved ones. Jeffrey McKean will meet his new baby boy before he leaves. His wife faces her own worries about being a mom to their newborn son while Jeffrey is gone.

“Just going through a new experience and not being able to have him there is probably gonna be hardest,” she said. “I’m so thankful that they were able to help out and make sure that he was able to be there and go through it with me.”

The soldiers are heading to Fort Bliss for training before going overseas for a year in Afghanistan.