LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- Members of the 489th Engineer Battalion at Camp Robinson said their goodbyes Sunday, as they prepare for a one year deployment to Afghanistan.
The battalion will break down several Army bases across the country, as Operation Enduring Freedom draws to a close. "We make this journey with our friends, our battle buddies and those that have gone before us. We are never alone," battalion commander LTC Leslie Templin told her troops. "I'm looking forward to our units to basically do our mission, to deconstruct Afghanistan and bring everybody home."
The emotional ceremony was highlighted by an inspirational speech from Colonel David Ragusa, deputy commander of the 420th engineer brigade. Many of the troops are leaving behind spouses and children including Sgt. Melissa Pacheco who told THV, "It's what I love to do. I love being a soldier. I love taking care of soldiers, keeping the morale up. I'm motivated and ready."
Pacheco plans to keep in touch with her husband and three children through Skype and social media. While it's her first time being deployed with the National Guard, her family is accustomed to these situations as her husband also spent time abroad. "Of course I'm gonna miss them and miss home, but I gotta go out there and do my job," she added.