COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - It was a big day for many military families across the state as many from the 155th made their way to Jackson to fly to Fort Bliss, Texas, for final training before heading to the Middle East for a year.
More than 4,000 members of the Mississippi Army National Guard are being deployed to head overseas to the Middle East.
Two of those groups left North Mississippi Monday morning.
At the Columbus Armory, 35 families gathered to see their soldiers off to the next stage of the deployment.
"It's really mixed feelings. I'm excited to get the experience going overseas and deploying and doing my job in a live environment. But it's also sad with a wife, a little girl and family. It's something that you can't really prepare yourself to do, to leave them for this long of a period of time," said First Lt. Brandon Berry.
Some are on their second or even third deployment, but for others, it's a new experience.
"I'm excited to get one under my belt just out of training. I just got to this unit not long ago and I'm ready to see what it's like," says PFC Peyton Copley.
The Columbus Police Department and Lowndes County deputies escorted the bus to Jackson were they met up with other units from across the state.
In Starkville, 170 soldiers and their families gathered to ship out.
Children made signs for their moms and dads who some will not see home in a long time.
Some enjoying final quality family time for a while and one expectant mother pondering the fact that a dad won't be home when the new baby arrives.
"That's the main part that I've been upset about. It's just what he's going to miss with the baby," says Andi Sosa, whose husband has been deployed.
These soldiers will be gone for 15 months, and until then their families will be counting the days and praying for their safe return.
- National Guardsmen say goodbye for deployment
- Local guardsmen continue training for deployment
- Local National Guardsmen to deploy Monday
- UPDATE: More Mississippi National Guardsmen providing hurricane recovery support
- Troop honored in Prentiss County before deployment
- Soldiers honored in Amory before deployment
- At Mississippi school: Goodbye, Confederacy. Hello, Obama
- A community says goodbye to local firefighter
- It's National Pumpkin Day!
- Mississippi 4-H team wins at national event