AUSTIN, Texas - On Sunday, family, friends, and loved ones gathered to say their goodbyes to servicemen and women in the Texas National Guard in a special celebration.
More than 700 servicemen and women were deployed to the U.S. Central Command Area in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
Mobilizing is when reserve forces are assembled for active duty in times of war or national emergencies. In this case, the Texas military says this is a multi-component operation across five countries in an effort to strengthen relations with partner nations including joint training and key leader engagements.
"We are all very very excited, morale is at an all-time high right now," Spc. Alyssa LaFosse said. "I think everybody is just ready to get the ball rolling."
This is LaFosse's first deployment with this unit, but coming from a military family, she says she knows what the time away can be like. "I'm definitely excited even though I know it's going to be a long time away from family," she said.
Sgt. Erik Chacon has done the nine months away before, but this time, he's leaving something behind for the first time. "This is my first time having my daughter, so it's going to be an interesting deployment...it's gonna have a lot of mixed emotions for me in particular."
While those like Sgt. Chacon and Spc. LaFosse and many others are out serving this country, loved ones back home will be waiting for a safe return.