It's a first deployment for Specialist Corey Pierce, who says his training has him well prepared for the task at hand. "A lot of 12/16 hour days training. Our last drill they had, they worked these guys almost 36 hours without rest. So we go threw a lot. A lot of training."
The soldiers are all part of the Army National Guard's 1072nd Transportation Unit -- and about 90 of them are from the Central Valley. Their work is centered around transportation -- and their training has included how to react to enemy contact -- and roadside bombs.
"It's a very tough job," said Capt. Bill Mendelsohn. "Moving logistics is critical as long as we have soldiers in the theater, we have to make sure they're well supplied and equipped."
This unit has deployed before. For five of these soldiers, it will be a fifth deployment. Though many don't know exactly what to expect, they believe they are ready.
"You know, you really have to be in this uniform to understand what we go through. We're brothers -- ever single one of us," said Specialist Pierce. "I'll take a bullet for any of these guys out here."
"It is a military zone," said John Pierce. "No matter how well they are prepared, there is still a lot of action going on in that zone. So you're always concerned. But I know he's been well trained and I know he will keep an eye out for himself."
After the ceremony, they took photos with their families. Some of them, wiping away tears -- but still, filled with pride, and ready to serve their country.