Local soldiers prepare to deploy overseas



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Posted on February 9, 2013 at 7:52 PM

Updated Sunday, Feb 10 at 8:10 PM

AUSTIN -- Soldiers stand at attention, listening to the anthem of the country they are preparing to defend.

About 120 members of the Army National Guard 36th Combat Aviation Brigade are set to deploy to Kuwait.

"Tomorrow at high noon, we leave out of here to go to Fort Hood.," said Brigade Commander Rick Adams.

The soldiers will train there for two months, then it's off to Fort Rucker, Alabama for more training.

They'll fly to Kuwait right after Easter.

For most of them this is the second or third deployment. It makes number four for Staff Sergeant Jeffrey Bragg.

But there is something different for him this time around, he's leaving a wife, and young son in central Texas.

"It's a lot different. You're not just thinking about yourself and taking care of your soldiers, you also have to think about your family," said Jeffery Bragg.

"I think the hardest part is going to be watching our son make milestones and start making first words and sentences and things that are important to a 17-month old that he's going to miss out on," said Melissa Bragg, Jeffrey's wife.

These soldiers will be flying Blackhawk and Apache helicopters. They coordinate crews in the middle east and work to train U.S. allies there.

The nine month tour will leave the soldiers missing favorite things.

"The food. Steaks, barbecue. Central Texas is known for its barbecue so I'm gonna miss barbecue," said Sgt. Emanuel Leon.

But they say the thoughts of their families will get them through. "They're my strength there at home and I can't thank God enough for them," Cpt. Jeff Wilson said.