Posted at: 09/07/2013 1:59 PM
| Updated at: 09/07/2013 9:10 PM
By: Dan Bazile
There were many faces in the stands at Shaker High School, all them family and friends focused on the 180 Army National Guard Soldiers gathered on the gym floor. For them, the reality was sinking in they were not going to see their loved ones for a while.
The soldiers from the 42nd Combat Aviation Brigade and 3rd battalion 142nd Aviation Regiment are headed to Kuwait this fall for about a year. Before they ship out, they'll be going to Fort Hood, Texas for post mobilization training in a couple of weeks.
The farewell ceremony with top ranking military officials was a chance to thank the families.
“It's really a recognition of the families, friends of the soldiers who are helping us get there,” said Brigade Commander Colonel Albert Ricci.
For Chris Stockton, it is his first deployment. As he serves, his wife Kate will be holding down the fort at home with two children, 5-year-old Hanna and 2-year-old Keagan.
“It's just getting everything ready on the home front to make sure things are easier on family than they are for me,” says Stockton.
Thankfully they said every family has a support group, a network of people helping them with virtually everything. The Stocktons also have parents locally helping them out. They're more worried about Stockton's safety in a part of the world where many neighboring countries are deemed unstable. Then again, they said his day job as a State Trooper also generated safety concerns.
They're also watching the developments in Syria very closely, but Colonel Ricci says this deployment is to provide aviation support to American military forces in Kuwait.