922nd Horizontal Battalion prepares to deploy to Kuwait

GONZALES, LA (WAFB) - A group of brave men and women is spending some sweet moments with their loved ones.

A Deployment Ceremony was held for the 922nd Horizontal Battalion on Thursday at the Lamar-Dixon Expo Center.

Hundreds of people gathered in prayer as more than 150 Louisiana National Guard soldiers stood to bid farewell to their loved ones.

Adjutant General Glenn Curtis acknowledged their support system.

"The real heroes to me are families who continue to support them," Curtis said.

Specialist Kyron Lovas brought his "troops" with him.

"I couldn't do it without her. She (my wife) is my support. When I need someone to talk to, when I need some strength, that's who I look to," Lovas said.

Ascension Parish councilman Randy Clouatre is a proud father of two military sergeants.

"I'm proud and I pray," Clouatre said.

His son, Danny, has been deployed before. He has a young boy and another on the way. But, he said, technology will make this tour a little easier for him and his comrades.

"We'll be able to communicate through Skype and internet so it's not as hard as the first time I went," Clouatre said.

"I don't get to touch them but I get to see them and it's just like almost touching them. I get to see that they're well, they're okay, they're adjusted," Sgt. Shaquana Hudson said.

Military moms and dads often times leave their children small dolls called "Hug a Hero" as a reminder that they are in their thoughts.

"I'm going to put my picture in it and hope he'll sleep with it every night. I just got out of training in June and I told him as soon as I found out so he would have time to get used to me being gone. We'll Skype and Facetime and he'll be fine," Pfc. Haley Stafford said.

Specialist Cory Hano and her significant other are deploying together, but on separate missions. Keeping in touch will be a little different for them.

"Internet messages, emails. That'll be about it," Hano said.

Hano will also be surrounded by soldiers who have become more like sisters. They have packed a photo book of memories, smiles and laughter.

"It keeps your motivation up. It keeps you happy and you don't think of home so much," Pfc. Kimberly Farrell said.

Phone calls and emails help during tough times. But the soldiers said nothing compares to packages and handwritten letters that arrive in the mail.

"It's very important. Anytime you get something from that smells like your house you're going to love it," Sgt. Johnny Threeton said.

"Candy, Ramen Noodles, just the things that remind you of home really that you don't have in your grasp while you're there," Hano said.

The 922nd Horizontal Battalion will depart from Baton Rouge on Sunday.

They'll travel to Texas to continue training at Fort Bliss before heading to Kuwait.

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