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Troop deployment ceremony sends off 80

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FORT SILL, Okla_ Friends and family came together to say goodbye to around 80 Oklahoma National Guard Soldiers Saturday.

The Battery B, First Battalion, 158th Field Artillery will be getting some final training at Fort Bliss in Texas before they deploy to Afghanistan.

Once deployed they will be overseas for nine months.
 
Just a couple months ago First Lieutenant, Jason Elbert, sat at a desk as Internet Content Director for KSWO.

He had to take a leave to help train for his deployment, a deployment that he and his family have known about for a year.

So they've taken that time to help prepare for him leaving.

"They have to get it in their mind that it is going to be a long time until they see their soldier again. It's just one of those things where there is only so much you can prepare for until it happens.  So you got to hit the ground running," Elbert said.

He understands it won't be easy leaving his wife and 3-year-old behind though.

"We have to leave our families at times unfortunately, but this is what the mission calls for and that is what we signed up to do," Elbert said.

It's not just him though, he will be deployed with almost 80 other soldiers.

Soldiers Jason says have been unwavering and eager for the chance to serve.

"It takes a special kind of person to sign up and say, 'there's a possibility I deploy there's a possibility I fight, there's a possibility something happens to me or any of my brothers.'  It takes a special person to sign the paper even knowing that could happen.  So I am proud of these guys that they did that and stuck with it," Elbert said.
 
Jason's brother, Jeff, was at the deployment ceremony as well.

Jeff has already served in Afghanistan and so has his aunt, and Jeff says that will help their family while Jason is gone.

"Me and my aunt have already gone over there and  came back, we will be able to give our family that piece of mind that they need to know that there is hope," Jeff said.

Jason has shown his eager to go and serve his country saying it is his first real sense of accomplishment, but no matter how eager he is to leave he is even more eager to get home.

"You excited?" he asked his daughter, "I don't know 9 months is a long time to be with out dad.  I know that I will be excited to see them, be back with them.  That is an understatement, but I'll hopefully be able to talk to them every night.  That should lessen the blow a little bit. Soften it," Elbert said.

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