NORTH CANTON, Ohio
Family and friends gathered on Sunday at the Faith Family Church to give a rousing sendoff to 73 soldiers with the Ohio National Guard.
The soldiers, from Company B, 3rd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment, now head to Fort Hood, Texas, before deploying to Afghanistan early next year in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"I'd rather have him here," says Thom Seavers, whose son, Derek, is headed for his third tour of duty overseas, "but I realize he joined the National Guard because he wanted to offer his services to the nation."
This is the first time that Theresa Coffey has seen her son, Brent, go off to war.
"We're going to miss them all," she says, "but we just can't wait for them to get back."
The unit, which provides general aviation support for the army, is expected to return home late next year.