BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - A heartfelt good-bye for some Louisiana soldiers tasked with a special mission.
The 1021st Engineering Company and the 205th Engineering Battalion are going to Kuwait to help the country rebuild.
Children, parents, spouses and friends bowed their heads in prayer. They're hearts were filled with emotion as the soldiers prepared to depart from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La.
"I'm excited to do what I can for my state and my country, but at the same time it's a big sacrifice with my family," Sgt. Joseph Henry said.
No one knows that more than perhaps Sgt. First Class Kenneth Dixon. This is his third deployment.
"It gets tougher every time. The first two times was tough but this time it's something new. It's a little tougher this time," Sgt. Dixon said.
The old photos, words of encouragement, and the promises to stay in touch help. They are constant reminders of the selfless commitment the soldiers have made to their country.
Shaundra Dixon said it's one of the many reasons she's honored to be a military wife.
"I'm very proud of him. I'm very proud of him. He's-- I'm very proud of him," Dixon said.
Saying goodbye is never easy but this one is especially hard for Sgt. Sally Pack who said she just got custody of her young son. Her close friend, Michael Savoy, is her rock.
"It means a lot to me that she's doing it, takes a lot of courage doing what she's doing. I'm very proud of her," Savoy said.
Governor Bobby Jindal addressed the soldiers and their families thanking everyone for sacrificing their time and talents.
"I know it's going to be tough. I know there's going to be many long nights. I know many of these young kids they're just beginning to understand what it means for parents to be gone," Jindal said.
But they've learned a thing or two from their loved ones in uniform. That, they said, has made all the difference.
"It's hard. It's hard. Through family and prayer we're going to get through it. Hopefully the year goes by fast," Shaundra Dixon said.
The soldiers are headed to Fort Bliss, Texas for training before deploying to Kuwait. Their deployment is for one year.