TYLER, TX (KLTV) - They stood at attention, waiting, watching, knowing their boots wouldn't touch East Texas soil for a long time. Crowds gathered as the soldiers of the 136th military police battalion listened as East Texas leaders gave encouraging words before their deployment to Afghanistan. Serving his third year in the army, Private First Class David Adams said goodbye to his wife of four months.
"It's stressful, I mean, there's times you want to cry, there's times when you can't and then there's times when you gotta do it for your loved ones for the country for everybody you care for," he said.
It was the final half hour before leaving on their 12 month tour, families hugged, couples embraced, and children already missed their mothers and fathers.
"Ready to go and ready to get back," said Dan Settler.
Out of uniform Settler is a local pastor, a job he draws parallels from.
"When it comes down to serving the people and doing what is right and loving God and country it actually works together," said Settler.
Alongside his wife, Settler remained upbeat. Relying on his faith to help persevere through his deployment.
"I know that God watches over us all whether we're over there in harm's way or over here at home, when we can't get to each other we can pray for each other," said Settler.
Loading up on the buses, soldiers peered at the crowds armed with American flags. Pulling away a cheer went up as they left to protect our freedoms for younger generations to carry on.
Members of the 136th will work with various units from the Navy, Air Force, Army Reserve and Army National Guard. Appropriately, the battalion will be called the Joint Task Force Lone Star during their 12 month stay in Afghanistan.