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.

Comments (4)
  1. BaltimoreJen says:

    May God be with you.
    Thank you and thank your familys for the sacrafice.
    With out you fine people we would not have the freedoms we enjoy, and take for granted.
    All of you are hero’s and don’t ever forget that or let ANYONE take that away from you.
    God Bless All Of You!
    Jennifer Howard- Brunson

  2. Mac says:

    Hi Daniel – proud of you all – will keep you and your family along with the rest of your battalion close in my prayers until your safe return…..mac mccauley

  3. Nichole says:

    I am one of the wives who was at this event. I am extremely proud of my husband, the men and women going on this tour, and all others in the military. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers through the holidays and the coming year, it means the world to the soldiers and their families.

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