National Guard Deploys Soldiers
"I'm excited. For me, it's an opportunity to show when it counts the skills that I have," Major Melvin Hempstead said.
For Hempstead, leaving is bittersweet.
"I'm leaving a wife and seven kids. Three are grown, but four are at home, and a house and a community that I've grown fond of," Hempstead said.
The deployment affects more than just the soldiers. Their families share the burden.
"Just go day by day, and sometimes hour by hour when it's, you know, on the tough days," Hempstead's wife, Michelle, said.
The Guardsmen are headed to Fort Riley in Kansas for 90 days of training. They then will make the trip to Afghanistan. Once they arrive in Afghanistan, the soldiers will accompany the Afghanistan National Army on missions throughout the country. They hope to train Afghan forces to become self-sufficient.