BOISE, Idaho — Soldiers in the Idaho National Guard said their final goodbyes to their families before they boarded a plane and started a one-year deployment that will take them to the Middle East.
More than 600 soldiers from the 116th Cavalry Brigade Combat Team will head to Fort Bliss for 45 days of training before they head to southwest Asia in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
The Idaho National Guard has been preparing for this deployment for more than two years, but it's never easy to say goodbye.
"I have my wife Deana, my daughter Eden and my son Astor so I’ll definitely miss them," said CPT. Isaac Zimmerly.
Children will continue to grow and life will go on, but the men and women of the Idaho National Guard will have to miss their families as they answer the call of duty.
"Saying goodbye to them has definitely been hard coming up to this point obviously there are a lot of emotions," said SSG. Tonya Olmos. "I have kids so obviously it’s trying to prepare them for the next year without me."
Military spouses have a lot of resources at their disposal, the camaraderie that comes from the Idaho National Guard family and a guarantee from the governor.
"Your families that you have left behind are going to be our number one priority and then they are going to be our priority when you get back," said Idaho Governor Brad Little, who addressed the soldiers before they left. "The National Guard in Idaho is a family and that is very important to Idaho."
The soldiers do not know what their exact job will entail as part of the mission includes training our allies in the middle east, but when they head down range they will be representing America, Idaho and their families.
"I’m extremely proud of my husband, we have been together for fifteen years, he has been in the Army since we got together and he’s everything to us," said Sara Rodriguez. "The unit he’s going with is a really strong family unit, I know he’s safe and I can’t be more proud of him."
The Idaho National Guard soldiers will also be joined by soldiers from Oregon, Ohio and Montana.