FORT BRAGG (WTVD) --On a mission to defeat ISIS, the last round of soldiers from the 18th Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg are deploying to Iraq on Friday.
The men and women on deployment are part of 450 U.S. soldiers that will lead a coalition of more than 60 ally nations during a period of nine months in Operation Inherent Resolve.
ABC11 was there as the soldiers said their last goodbyes to their families.
Soldiers hugged their loves ones, some took pictures as a final memento before departing for Kuwait.
Others thought of the perilous mission ahead.
Capt. Thomas Pell is one of the deploying soldiers. He said he was thinking about his firstborn son as he held him goodbye.
"It's definitely hard that I'm going to be missing his first birthday, first steps, next words that he says, but I'm really happy that I have FaceTime and I'll be able to see him on that," he said.
Capt. Marc McKenney carries his 3-year-old daughter's toy pig, a gift from her so he would have a "buddy" in a warzone.
He too has a son, just a few months old, and said it's tough to think about the missed firsts but said it's just another part of service.
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"It comes with wearing the uniform, you have to accept it and put one foot in front of the other in the mission until you come home," he said.
McKenney said it's the thought of his children, and protecting them, that keeps him focused on the mission to put an end to the Islamic State.
"It's extremely important, hopefully that when they become adults, and have their own family, that they're not living in the current environment that we have right now," he said.
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