It's a day that's bittersweet for families and friends of military soldiers. They gathered at the State Armory in Hornell Friday for a deployment ceremony for the 222nd Military Police Company. Families watched their uniformed heroes walk in the room, some with tears. But as Katie Husband tells us, these Army National Guard soldiers are ready for duty.
HORNELL, N.Y. -- "These soldiers not only give up time to do their normal day-to-day work and jobs but the family gives up time so the soldiers can train with the Army," said MAJ Karl Berg, 222nd Military Police Company Commander.
Which is what the deployment ceremony is for, thanking both the soldiers and the families who make sacrifices as well. That's the kind of reputation the Hornell Armory has around the area and beyond.
"A lot of soldiers travel from out of state just to come to this unit. It's been a great unit to be in and they know that they can trust our leadership and the leadership will guide them in the right direction and we should have a pretty good deployment," said SFC Shane Stevens, 222nd Military Police Company.
About 130 soldiers in the Army National Guard's 222nd Military Police Company stood tall as they heard final speeches from local dignitaries and military personnel before they head out for post-mobilization training at Camp Shelby, Mississippi.
"It's just nice to serve your country, you feel proud, it's good to do. Everyone has their different reasons for joining but at the end of the day we're all doing the same thing," said SPC Edward McNelis, 222nd Military Police Company.
"I always liked being in uniform and again I like to be with the guys. I think that's the most important thing is, as leaders as we are today, we get to teach at the lowest level and just watch them grow and have them do the right things at all times," said SFC Matthew Clark, 222nd Military Police Company.
For some of these soldiers this isn't their first deployment ceremony, so their advice to the newcomers is to stay in touch with their families by any means necessary.
"Of course, make sure you always call home, make sure everyone's home, make sure they know where you're at at all times and keep in contact with them, you know we have Skype now and the Internet," said Clark.
As these soldiers march on to the next step, they know their families will be waiting for them at the homecoming ceremony.
After 45 days of training in Mississippi they will be deployed to the Middle East.