MURFREESBORO, Tenn. - Almost 100 National Guard soldiers based in Murfreesboro are deploying to Afghanistan.
The Daily News Journal reports that the soldiers said goodbye to their loved ones on Monday at the city's National Guard Armory as they prepare to go to Fort Bliss for a month of training before heading overseas.
Tennessee Army National Guard spokeswoman Niki Gentry said the soldiers will be deployed for "no more than 400 days."
Capt. Mitchell Thompson says that more than half of the soldiers with the 269th Military Police Company have never deployed before.
"It'll be a real wake-up call for some of these guys," said Thompson
That might include 19-year-old Jorge Vega, whose family surrounded him as he prepared to deploy for the first time.
"I'll pray for him every day," said his mother, Carmen Maymi. "I feel very proud, but I feel sad too. He's going to be fighting for our country, and it makes me very proud that he's taking this step."
Vega said it's hard to leave his family, but he isn't scared.
"I'm just maybe a little nervous and anxious to see what it's like," he said. "You don't really know what to expect when you get there. It's kind of exciting."