Nearly a hundred members of two D.C. National Guard units are about to begin a year's deployment in Afghanistan. For many of them this is not the first time being called to duty
Carolyn and Matt Wilson are in the final hours of their time together before they are separated for a year.
"It's hard, but I'm glad that my wife does have my daughter while I'm gone, so she's got a piece of me and they'll be each other's pals while I'm gone," Lt. Wilson says.
"It will be a difficult time," Carolyn Wilson says. "It will be about a year apart. But the unit is ready and they're excited to go.'
This is the 22nd post-9/11 deployment for the D.C. National Guard, with 32 of the guardsmen headed out for a second tour of duty.
Three pairs of cousins in this unit that are being deployed. Among those are Specialist Joseph Douglin and Specialist Alex Cortorez who are leaving on their third tour.
"I'm ready to go," Douglin says. "Great thing is I have my cousin with me, so I've got him watching my back and I'm watching his."
"Just in case he needs help or he needs some moral support, I'm there for him regardless," Cortorez says.
Sgt. David Kaplan is being deployed for his second time, but this time he's a new father.
"I'm going to miss a lot of her firsts." Kaplan says. "She just started smiling and laughing and pretty soon, in a couple of months from now, she's going to be talking and crawling. I'm going to miss that."
At a time when the president is withdrawing troops, these men and women are heading to a war zone. they will join 90,000 other soldiers currently on the ground in Afghanistan.
D.C. National Guard soldiers deploying to Afghanistan
(AP,WJLA) - A celebration is planned at the D.C. Armory in southeast Washington for D.C. National Guard soldiers headed to Afghanistan.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is set to attend Thursday's sendoff of the D.C. Army National Guard's 273rd Military Police Company.
The city's representative in Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton, is also scheduled to attend and address the group.