Saturday, the Vermont Air National Guard's 158th Civil Engineer Squadron stood at attention. The unit recently received orders to deploy to Afghanistan. Family, friends and Vermont's most prominent elected officials came to the Air Base to see them off.
Sen. Patrick Leahy spoke at the podium, "We'll be here to welcome you back, safely, and know that we're proud of you and that we'll pray for you."
The group will be tasked with airport operations and maintenance. Air Force information officers say security provisions prevent them from sharing too many details about the trip. But those going, as well as those staying behind, say it won't be easy.
Chief Master Sgt. John Talcott shared his thoughts, "Excited nervous, sad, a little bit of everything right now. It's very hard because my daughter's a sophomore and is playing hockey and I want to do that and go to those games and see her grow up but I also got a job to do."
Over his 28-year career, Chief Master Sergeant John Talcott has deployed more than four times.
Now, he's about to do so again.
When asked what he was going to miss most, he replied, "Everything, everything."
1st Lt. Engineering Officer Mathew Lehman said, "The hugs and the kisses."
Lehman is about to go on his first deployment. He says he knows it will be difficult but is more concerned about how his family will handle his absence at home. His wife Tasha says they can't expect everyday to go smoothly. She works as a Family Readiness Volunteer.
"And that's okay, we're just going to do the best we can until they get home." Mrs. Lehman said.
Guard members and their families say they'll rely on the support systems they have abroad and at home.
Information officers say the actual deployment should begin in the next month and a half.