CLEVELAND, Tennessee(WDEF) - More than 100 Tennessee Army National Guard soldiers from the 252nd Military Police Company left Cleveland Friday morning for a one year deployment to Kuwait.
Shortly after sunrise those soldiers enjoyed one last breakfast with their family and friends before leaving the country. Sgt. Kristine Purcell is one of those soldiers. She joined the military after 9/11 and is now about to embark on her third deployment to the Middle East. Sgt. Purcell showed no signs of being nervous about going back to the Middle East.
"I do know that going overseas; everyone might be a little worried about what's happening. But you still have to understand that when you're wearing the uniform, you signed up and volunteered for this," Purcell said.
Standing right beside Sgt. Purcell was her partner, Shelley Dubois.
"Kristine has been in the service for about 12 years now and no one is better trained than her. She's very service above self and very group oriented. That's how she thinks. So if anyone has to go, I am completely confident that she will do the job she needs to do," Dubois said.
In the background of the interview stood Specialist James Johnson. It's his first deployment. Johnson said he's looking forward to the experience but feels bad about leaving his two children.
"It's been really difficult because I have two boys. This will be the first time I'll be away from them for an extended period of time," Johnson said.
Saying good-by was also hard for Theresa Stripling. This was her daughter's first deployment.
"As a mom, you know we always want to protect our child but as a woman it makes me so excited to see how she has grown through the military, Stripling said.
Before long, happy faces turned teary-eyed and long walks ended with strong hugs and kisses as the soldiers began to board their buses.
It was finally time to deploy.
They will undergo training at a base in New Jersey before leaving for Kuwait.