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Fort Sill soldiers deploying before holidays

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FORT SILL Okla_ About 60 Fort Sill soldiers of the 75th Fires Brigade are going to Afghanistan.

Friends and families of the troops filled the stands at Fort Sill's Rinehart Gym Thursday to say goodbye.

The brigade's commander said it's been three years since the 75th fires brigade has been deployed overseas. Normally, troops have about a year to prep for deployment, but he says they just found out about this deployment about three months ago.

Private First Class Richmond Harrison's youngest daughter holds tight to her dad. Harrison said while he's excited about being deployed, he won't show it much in front of his wife, Rahnisha and their two young girls. They both admit they'll miss each other.

"I think it's a little harder on my wife that we leave before the holidays," Harrison said. "It's kind of bittersweet for us. I know it will be beneficial."

"It's going to be hard but we'll get through it," Rahnisha said. "I got a lot to keep me busy, obviously."

Richmond and his unit will be pretty busy too. The brigade's commander says the unit will join up with more than 500 other soldiers already in Afghanistan. They will have two objectives: one to command and control of all the surface army artillery firing throughout the area of operations, and the other is helping allies achieve the same in their region.

"We're artillery men," Colonel Alfredo Najara said. "This is something we're trained to do. I'm very comfortable with being able to do this mission."

He said despite only having a few months to hone what they are assigned to do, the short notice is starting to become the army's norm again.

Najara said, "This is going back to pre-9/11 days where this was constant. We had to always be ready. These soldiers did and proved they could do it."

The brigade is expected to return home in about a year.

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