By Abby Reed
MIDLAND - More than 50 local Army Reserve Soldiers boarded a bus, preparing for a 400 day deployment to the Middle East.
None of the soldiers from the 820th Signal Company 2nd Platoon know exactly where they are being deployed, but they do know they will either go to Iraq or Afghanistan.
"We need the support of our families to be able to do what we do," Staff Sgt. Israel Ramirez, said.
For Ramirez, this will be his sixth deployment during his military career. He is one of five squad leaders in his platoon.
"Every soldier that I am taking over is somebody's son, and that father and that mother want them to come home," Ramirez said.
19-year-old Specialist Manuel Hernandez's parents will be counting down the days until he comes home.
"You always look at your parents as heroes, you want to be like them. But today, what I want to say to my son, 'you're my hero,'" Martinez's father, Manuel Martinez, said.
Martinez is also leaving behind a fiance who he says he looks to for strength.
"I'm very happy that she's strong and willing to be with me and to sacrifice a whole year," Spc. Martinez said.
For his second deployment, Corporal Geraldo Benavidez and his new bride, Yvonne, are in a similar boat. They've been married only three days.
"So far, my main goal while he is gone, is just keeping myself busy," Yvonne Benavidez said.
For most of the parents, siblings, children and spouses, keeping busy means reliving the pictures, hugs and kisses. It also means cherishing memories that led up to the moment their soldiers have to deploy.
"Just remember the first day you met, and those butterflies you got when you heard the words 'I love you,' and just take into consideration, when I say 'I'll come back' we're going to do our best to come back," SSgt. Israel Ramirez said.