Louisburg, N.C. — While many North Carolina soldiers have returned home from overseas deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, a National Guard unit based in Louisburg is shipping out for a peacekeeping mission in Egypt.
On Sunday, family and friends said goodbye to about 100 servicemen and women in an emotional farewell ceremony for the deployed unit. They head to Indiana this week for training and are scheduled to leave the country in early December.
"There were a few tears shed," said Mark Parker, whose wife is among those deployed. "It's pretty emotional to know you're not going to see her for an extended period of time."
Staff Sgt. Nicole Parker said that while it's hard to be away from her husband, it's her duty to help secure volatile areas across the globe.
"Our whole job is to keep the peace, basically, no matter where we go," she said. "That's our job—to restore peace, democracy. That's what we do."
The unit will join other National Guard units from Greensboro, High Point, Winston-Salem and Reidsville to observe and report on compliance with the 1979 peace accord between Israel and Egypt. They are expected to return home in September.
Sgt. Jeff Jasmin said leaving behind his fiancé, Shawnisha King, and their two young daughters is the hardest part of his job.
King said she is "scared and nervous" about how the deployment will affect their daughters and their October 2013 wedding plans.
Four-year-old Serenity's teacher told King that the girl "thinks her dad is not going to come back," King said.
"I cried last week over that."
Mark Parker is just look forwarding to his wife's safe return.
"Hopefully, she can come back after her service to our country and be my wife once again," he said.