MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – 200 service men and women are headed on a 10-month, voluntary mission to Afghanistan as part of 'Operation Enduring Freedom.'
The 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team held a sendoff ceremony before deploying the soldiers on Sunday morning at the Macon Marriott City Center.
Command Sergeant Major Michael Hurndon says the departure from family and friends is emotional, but they plan to bring everyone back safely.
"The primary mission that we're going to execute is number one, providing security in Afghanistan, but also working operations to draw the forces," Hurndon says. "These solider are well trained, well-equipped, and I will say, well led. They are in the best of hands, and by the grace of God we'll all be back here in a year from now, and have the greatest party ever."
With bags packed, the buses loaded with the soldiers took off as family and friends held signs, waved and said goodbye to their loved ones.
"Naturally, leaving family behind is always a tough thing to do, but we have a good support network and the organization has been great about getting everybody ready. So, I think we're ready to go," says deployed Major Patrick McDougald.
The brigade will stop at Camp Shelby in Mississippi to receive mobilization training before heading to Afghanistan next year.