APPLETON (NBC 26) — On Saturday a Fox Valley army reserve unit said their final goodbyes as troops part of the 395th Ordnance Company prepare to depart to the Middle East.
"I'm actually excited and determined. It's my first deployment,” said Sarah Johnson, who will soon be deployed to the Middle East.
Johnson is one of about 100 soldiers being deployed. They're expected to spend about a year overseas.
The troops will be conducting real-world ordnance oversight and provide support for service members.
"I got the call last summer so I have plenty of time to process the call. I feel like I'm ready,” said Brian Garcia, another soldier being deployed.
During their farewell ceremony held in a hotel in Appleton, family members had the opportunity to sit next to their soldier and cherish their final moments together.
Soldiers shared who of their loved ones came out to support.
"My mom, my sister, girlfriend, my aunt and my sister's boyfriend,” said Brett Peters.
"I have my two girls, my twin sister here, my boyfriend and a really close friend,” Johnson said.
"I'm from Chicago and my family is not here with me right now but this is my new family now, so this is all I need right now,” Garcia said.
Many soldiers agreed they have certainly become a family, preparing to face together the challenges ahead.
"Think that whatever I will need or if I need to talk I will always have something to go back on. This is my first deployment so I'm nervous obviously but also excited. Something new for me, different, I get to see a different part of the world then I'm used to in my everyday life,” Peters said.
So as family members hugged and embraced their soldier one last time, those speaking at the ceremony also emphasized the great sacrifice of not only the service men and women but of their family members too.
NBC 26 wishes all the service men and women a safe deployment.