Knoxville-area Tennessee Army National Guard soldiers to deploy

Knoxville-area Tennessee Army National Guard soldiers to deploy to Afghanistan

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Family members of soldiers in the 1/230th Air Cavalry Squadron said their goodbyes Friday afternoon. Family members of soldiers in the 1/230th Air Cavalry Squadron said their goodbyes Friday afternoon.
1st Lt. Brandon Goodwin, is getting ready to head out on his first deployment. He says the hardest part for him is leaving behind his newlywed wife Hannah and son Reid. 1st Lt. Brandon Goodwin, is getting ready to head out on his first deployment. He says the hardest part for him is leaving behind his newlywed wife Hannah and son Reid.

By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

LOUISVILLE (WATE) - Tennessee Army National Guard soldiers from the 1/230th Air Cavalry Squadron based in Louisville and Jackson are being deployed to Afghanistan.

The Knoxville-area soldiers are leaving Saturday morning for a yearlong deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Family members said their goodbyes Friday afternoon.

"I'm proud of him. This is what he loves," said Hannah Goodwin.

Her husband, 1st Lt. Brandon Goodwin, is getting ready to head out on his first deployment. He says the hardest part for him is leaving behind his newlywed wife Hannah and son Reid.

"My son turns two in April and just hearing that he doesn't understand right now. He'll be asking 'Where's Daddy?'" he said.

Lt. Goodwin is one of 36 pilots in Task Force Omega. Hannah helps coordinate contact with the other soldiers' families here at home. She says she worries most about those big moments in Reid's life that his dad will miss over the next year.

"The milestones. His birthday, Christmas, things like that you know. We're going to really miss him then," she said.

"We're relying a lot on our families to support us," Lt. Goodwin said.

Sgt. First Class Edward Smith is one 44 soldiers responsible for performing maintenance on the Kiowa Warrior helicopters. This will be his third deployment, and the third time leaving behind his four children and wife Stefanie who just this week learned she's pregnant with their fifth.

"Luckily my doctor was able to rush us in so he can be there for the first ultrasound and hear the baby's heart beat," said Stefanie.

"Pretty excited about her being pregnant, but kind of sad that I'm not going to be here for all the stuff that goes along with it," said Sgt. Smith.

Stefanie says missing those crucial moments will be the hardest part..

"It's hard on everybody, especially the older kids that have been through more deployments. They understand more of what's going on," she said.

For some soldiers, like Lt. Mandie Morgan, of Kingsport, it's their first deployment.

"I'm excited to get to perform my job. I love flying so I'm really excited," said Lt. Morgan.

The 25-year-old will be the platoon leader of 30 troops and will serve as a pilot. Coming from a military family, she says it's the support of her loved ones that's keeping her strong.

"This would be 100 percent more difficult if I didn't have the support of my family," she said.

80 soldiers are heading out for deployment Saturday. Initially the squadron was planning to send around 400 people on this mission, until forces in Afghanistan were reduced.

Their commander says they carefully selected the team with varied experience and skills.

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