BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Nearly 200 members of the Maryland National Guard said goodbye to their families Sunday as they prepare to carry out our country’s mission in a war zone.
It was an emotional send off for members of the 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, who have been activated to carry out missions in Kuwait and Iraq.
The deployment ceremony was held inside a packed armory at the Aberdeen proving ground, under the American flag.
Everywhere you looked, there were stories of sacrifice.
“It’s just hard to say goodbye, very difficult,” said Maryland Army National Guard Cpt. Kerry Fredrich.
“When I look at his wife – they are newlyweds – and I feel bad that he is leaving her so soon,” said Fredrich’s mother, Leslie Fredrich.
As moms said goodbye, and babies got even more love, there’s an understanding that the work is necessary.
This unit will assist in aerial missions, which – among other things – include fighting ISIS.
For some families, it’s the second deployment in five years. The last time this unit deployed was in 2012 to Iraq, with that deployment lasting nine months.
“It doesn’t get any easier,” said one family member.
The service members will travel to Ft. Hood, before heading to the Middle East.
“It’s what I was called to do,” said SPC Lauren Pope. “It’s what I signed up for. To me it’s, ‘hey, I am serving my country.'”
The unit will eventually join forces with aviation units from a dozen other states, but on Sunday they got to enjoy a hero’s send off.