GA Guard engineers deploy to Afghanistan - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

GA Guard engineers deploy to Afghanistan

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DOUGLAS, GA (WALB) -

Nearly 100 families said their goodbyes to soldiers today in Douglas, before they are sent to Afghanistan.

It was a tearful day for many families who had to say goodbye to loved ones for a year.

"I am kind of sad, because I know I have to be Mom and Dad to the kids, and it is hard but we will get through, we have gotten through before, and we will get through this too," says Alena Smiley, wife.

They said goodbye to a father and husband, 1st Sgt Alvin Smiley. This is his 5th deployment.

"Pretty routine for me now, I have been in for 27 years so I have been deploying about every 3 to 5 years," says 1st Sgt. Alvin Smiley, Georgia Army National Guard's 848th Engineer Company.

The Georgia Army National Guard's 848th Engineer Company hosted a departure ceremony marking the start of their 12 month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

"The first two times was kind of hard because I had newborns, but now it is ok now, because I am benefiting from it, and helping out the country," says Smiley.

And his family benefits too.

"You got the post 9/11 GI Bill, both of them can go to college for free and pay nothing, any college they want to go to, medical, dental, everything is free," says Smiley.

Being away from his kids makes the time they spend together even more precious.

"When he leaves I am kind of sad, and I miss him a lot, but when he comes home I am super excited, happy, and I jump up and give him hugs," says Osyria Smiley, daughter.

And for now they will stick to phone calls and skype video chat to pass the time, until they can be reunited once more.

The Soldiers will be leaving Monday morning at 9. They will be bused from the Armory and will be driven around Douglas so that everyone can come out to send them off.

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