Thirty-two United States Army Reserve Soldiers will be deploying to Afghanistan tomorrow in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The soldiers assigned to Company C of the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion were honored earlier today at a farewell ceremony in Utica.
It was an emotional day for family members as they bid farewell to their heroes. Some soldiers say their mission will be to do humanitarian work overseas.
Frank Twitchell will be leaving his two children and wife behind as he serves his country in Afghanistan. He says this will be his first deployment overseas.
"I am prepared and I'm willing to do whatever I have to do and accept the mission and do whatever it takes for my other comrades to come home safely too," said Twitchell.
Although Frank says he will miss the holidays with his family, he will try his best to stay in touch.
"Easiest thing for me to do is to take pictures of the kids and send them Christmas cards... make it more realistic... writing handwritten letters will be better because its more personable than an e-mail," explained Twitchell.
Frank says serving his country has been the biggest sacrifice he has made. Although he is prepared to fight, he says his biggest fear is not returning to his kids.
"That's the biggest worry. But, with a positive attitude and trusting the people behind me and next to me that I will have confidence we will all return safe and watch my kids grow up," said Twitchell.
It will also be Stephen Goodchild's first deployment. His wife Heather says they will be keeping in touch every chance they get.
"We'll be using Skype a lot and letters, phone calls, and every kind of communication we can to stay in contact," explained Heather.
Although Heather says it will be a challenge, she is ready for her husband to serve.
"Knowing what a great soldier he is and how much he loves his country that he will do something like this and fight for our freedom so we can live in a country where our son can grow up with the freedoms we had growing up. we are very proud of him," said Heather.
First Lieutenant Destinas Elder says this will be his fourth deployment to Afghanistan. His advice for the first time deployers...
" I've been there many times and it's been a different experience every time. Keep your head up stay focused and stay to what you believe in. Do what you have to do to come home to your family and your loved ones," said Lt. Elder.
The 32 soldiers assigned to the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion say they will be returning around this time next year.