A Connecticut National Guard unit is about to deploy for the 5th time since September 11, 2001.
Standing in formation inside the Hartford Armory, the men and women of the 103rd Air Control Squadron appeared ready to head out.
The service of the unit's 50 members was recognized with a sendoff ceremony Tuesday evening.
With the holidays approaching, it is a tough time to deploy overseas and it can be even tougher for family left behind.
At one point during the ceremony, 2-year-old Matthew Buckingham kept running over to his father, Major Ryan Buckingham, as he stood with his fellow soldiers.
Matthew didn't want to leave his dad's side.
"He deployed before, but it was pre-children, so it's going to be a little more difficult," Stacy Buckingham, Ryan's wife, said.
Difficult deployments are nothing new to this squadron.
This is the fifth time since September 11, 2001 that the mobile radar unit has been called on to control airspace in war zones.
The unit commander, Lt. Col. Bill Neri, has gone on all five deployments.
Neri said previous tours include time stateside, in Afghanistan and in Qatar.
This time the unit is headed to Iraq for four months.
Many of the airmen already know what they'll miss most.
"My family, yep, family and be able to walk down the street and go to a story and not have to worry about anything happening to you," said Robert Schlubach of New Haven.
Schlubach sat with his wife and 11-year-old son, Herbert, by his side.
When asked what the house will be like without his father home, Herbert said, "Lonely."
Fortunately, the unit doesn't deploy right away. They have staggered departure dates, mainly after Christmas.
Major Ryan Buckingham will spend Christmas with his wife and two young sons, and then head overseas the next day.
"It's better than the 24th," Buckingham said. "They are young enough that they don't understand timing issue, but it's something we've prepared for."