Deanne Stein, News 9
LEXINGTON, Oklahoma -- The Oklahoma National Guard held a farewell ceremony Sunday for 40 soldiers leaving to serve in Afghanistan.
Patriotic music welcomed guests and soldiers to the Army Aviation Support Facility in Lexington, Oklahoma, as family and friends prepared to send their loved ones off for duty.
"It will be harder for her and it is for me, but I know what I'm doing every day and she'll have the hardest time with it," Cpt. Jonathan Naber said.
This is Naber's second deployment, leaving behind his wife and three children.
"The hardest part is missing out on everything here," he said.
Naber is among 40 members of the Detachment 1, Company C, 2-149th General Aviation Support Battalion, heading to Afghanistan. Their mission is to conduct aerial medical evacuations.
For Aleighsia Montgomery, it's her first deployment.
"I'm kind of nervous right now," she said. "But, I'm still pretty excited, first time to Afghanistan."
But her second time to say goodbye to her husband.
"I just got back from training a few months ago and now I've got to leave again, so that's the worst thing is saying goodbye."
Through hugs, kisses and tears, these families did bid farewell. And even though many of them have been down this road before, they say it never gets any easier.
"It's a little bit of mixed emotion," said Jesseka Koivisto, whose brother, Nathan, is among those being deployed. "I'm very proud of him, but at the same time, I'm going to miss him."
But she says she knows she's not alone.
"There are a lot of families out here going through the same thing and we're all kind of together on this with a lot of support," she said.
The soldiers will stop in Fort Hood, Texas, to receive additional mobilization training prior to deploying to Afghanistan later this year.
Their deployment is expected to last approximately nine months.