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Harford County Soldiers Prepare To Deploy

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ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — As millions prepare to visit loved ones this holiday, one group of soldiers from Harford County is saying goodbye to their families. 

Gigi Barnett explains why.

Days before Christmas, this is goodbye for about 40 soldiers in the Army’s 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion.  After a training stop at Fort Dix in New Jersey, their final destination is Afghanistan.  For the soldiers and their families, Christmas came early this year.

“He got his gift yesterday,” said Phillip LaJoie.

The Battalion is based at Aberdeen Proving Ground. 

The soldiers will spend all of 2011 away.

For several families, the ceremony is  a chance to say thank you, too.

For Specialist Daniel LaJoie’s family, deployment has happened before with his older brother, who was in the Army, and his mother, who was in the Air Force.

Now it’s his turn.

“I had to do something more with myself,” he said.  “This is the best way to do it.”

Members of the battalion will spend no more than 400 days in combat.

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