MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - Wednesday, April 3, almost 200 men and women will be deployed from Mobile to Afghanistan.
Officials said the Alabama Army National Guard's 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, out of Mobile, has been called to active duty in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
The sentiments shared by all of the family members FOX10 spoke with were "time can't move slowly enough."
All of the Gulf Coast families enjoyed one last relaxing night together, before we as a community send them off.
First Sgt. Glenn Furukawa and his wife Sandy share a moment together outside Mobile's Fort Whiting. Furukawa deploys to Afghanistan Wednesday.
This is his third deployment, having fought for us in Iraq and Kuwait.
"The hardest part for me is the birthdays, the holidays. And it's another Christmas he won't be here, and if something does go wrong, it's going to go wrong when he's gone. But the hardest part is the holidays, and not having him there," Sandy Furukawa said.
"When I'm there, I try to do everything as much as I can for her—everything from getting her pot of coffee ready in the morning before she goes to work, to ironing her uniform at night before we go to bed. So I try to do as much as I can to help her out," 1 st Sgt. Furukawa said.
He said even though he is worried about safety overseas, his family is never far from his thoughts.
"Both. I worry about my family, but that always stays in the back of my head. First and foremost is staying vigilant, staying aware."
Furukawa's son and stepdaughter are heading to the Port City for dinner and dad's sendoff.
He's one of the nearly 200 from the 226th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade of the Army National Guard being sent to Afghanistan. Their mission is base management and civil-military operation and garrison support.
Before they leave, the soldiers will get a hero's sendoff.
"The soldiers will be up on the stage so everybody gets a good look at them because that's what it's all about," said Chaplain Craig Holloway who is deploying with the soldiers.
Chaplain Holloway said he expects about a thousand to fill the Fort Whiting auditorium Wednesday.
This deployment will be about a year. Sandy Furukawa will say goodbye to her husband the way they've done twice before, a family group hug.
She said the first thing she will do when her soldier returns home is "run up to him and give him a big hug and kiss."
She said time can't pass quickly enough.
"I can't wait to get back, and for you guys to be doing our return home ceremony," she said,
The send-off starts at 10 a.m. in the Fort Whiting auditorium just through the double doors. The general public is encouraged to attend and show their support for our National Guard.
Army officials said it's a unit that has call more than 21,000 personnel to active duty since September 11. They said it remains a top contributor to the nation's National Guard organizations.
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