East Texas Reservists Head To Iraq

It was an emotional day for nearly 30 East Texas families. Their loved ones are on their way to Iraq. The group of 27 soldiers took off Friday morning from Tyler's Army Reserve Center. The soldiers' main duty will be to fuel military equipment in Iraq.

Friends and family were on hand to see the soldiers set off on their journey.  Some said they were sad to see their loved ones go.  Others expressed pride.

"I believe that he's a soldier that we want over there. He's the kind of man that we want protecting our country," says Harvei Roberts. Her son, Andy McBeek is going to Iraq for the second time. The 22-year-old says although he's sad to leave his family, he has to stay strong for them. "It's hard. It brings tears to your eyes. Don't wanna cry in front of my family so I choke 'em back," says McBeek.

After loading their bags and a pep talk from their sergeant, the soldiers and their families prayed. Then, it was time for the unit to depart. With hugs and kisses, the soldiers went on their way to what some consider one of the most dangerous places in the world. Roberts says, "When he went the first time, I put him in God's hands and he brought him back. He'll bring him back again."

The soldiers are first heading to Oklahoma, where they're expected to receive two months of training. After that, it's off to Kuwait, to get acclimated with the region. Then, they will begin their service in Iraq. Their mission is expected to last at least a year.

Oralia Ortega, reporting.