Jacksboro, Campbell County (WVLT) -- East Tennessee is bidding goodbye and praying for a safe return to a group of National Guardsmen heading overseas.
Volunteer TV's Mike McCarthy has the story.
They group serves in the 1175th Army National Guard Transportation Unit out of Jacksboro in Campbell County.
On Saturday, their families and the community came together for a supportive send off.
With a threat of a storm overhead, Staff Sergeant Mike Rose is cooking up a storm.
"I love to cook. The bigger the group, the better," Rose says.
Besides food, there is one thing on everyone is mind.
"Get our families together for one last time before they have to leave us to go overseas," says Lynda Ingram, who's husband is being deployed.
Her husband, Mark, will deploy Sunday to Fort Braggs, North Carolina.
The group does not know where they'll go after yet just yet.
"We've got to be a family over here while they're gone, because they'll be a family over there," Lynda says.
But at the armory, one last time for tickles, hugs, and good food with good friends.
"We may not show it, we may try to act tough, but we really appreciate the community coming out," says Mark Ingram.
But it's Mark's wife and daughter by his side that means the most.
"She's only four," Mark says of his daughter, "But she understands daddy has to go help people."
Mark Ingram and the rest of the group will help by transporting equipment.
"Anything from bullets to food. It just depends on what our mission is at the time," he says.
The rainy weather moved the send off from Cove Lake to the armory, but the rain did not dampen the soldiers' spirit.
"We are all proud to be here and proud to do what we do," says Mark.
"When we come back, we'll probably have another event like this, and I'll be doing the cooking then, too," says Mike Rose.
This the unit's second trip oversees.
They previously spent a year in Iraq back in 2004-2005.
The advance party leaves Sunday and the rest of the unit will join them in North Carolina on Tuesday.
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