Emotional departure ceremony - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Emotional departure ceremony

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WESTFIELD -

There was an emotional send-off Sunday for a group of Hoosier soldiers. They had to say goodbye to their families for a year-long tour of duty in Kuwait.

No matter how many times the men and women have served their country, it's always emotional for their families. But, praying together seems to help.

"Give us the strength to do our jobs. Give us the spirit of cooperation and harmony. Grant our families our protection and peace."

Members of the 38th Sustainment Brigade said goodbye to their families Sunday. These National Guard members are heading to Kuwait to support Operation Enduring Freedom. And, many of these "citizen-soldiers" aren't thinking about "goodbye",  they are focused on their "job."

Lt. Wilkinson from Terre Haute explains, "I try to focus on the mission. I will miss everyone and my family but we will get back home to them."

"I think she has got the right mindset. You've got a job to do when you are there and don't need to worry about politics . Go do what you are there to do," said Robert Truxal, Lt. Wilkinson's Uncle.

A year away from their families, serving their country, many of them bringing along a little "piece of home."

Command-Sergeant Karolyn Peeler said, "Veya con dios, means go with God. It fits perfectly in my palm. I've been carrying it with me since he gave it to me."

But, Many times it's the families these soldiers leave behind, that need the most support.

Major General Umbarger told the group gathered for the send off, "I know for some of you, if you have issues, we are there for you. We have a family readiness program that is there for you. Don't be afraid to ask for help."

The soldiers will be lead by Indiana's first female command team Colonel Deedra Thombleson and Command-Sergeant Karolyn Peeler.

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