Thirteen Airmen said their goodbyes to family and friends very early Saturday morning at Fort Indiantown Gap just before departing on a mission to Afghanistan and Southwest Asia.
The Airmen are members of the Pennsylvania National Guard's 201st RED HORSE, a highly mobile civil engineering response force used to support contingency operations worldwide.
Their mission is to provide civil engineering support for the ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Southwest Asia.
The Airmen met with their loved ones at around 2:30 a.m. just before embarking on their mission. They will spend the next month training at an undisclosed location stateside, before heading overseas.
Those thirteen are the first group of approximately 250 members who will deploy.
The Airmen will return to Pennsylvania in about eight months.