POPE AIR FORCE BASE — Like many in the military, Capt. Chuck Towery leaves a family behind as he heads to the Gulf region Friday.
"I have young kids and I just simply told them, 'Last night we had our Christmas.' And I told them that Daddy was going to be taking a trip for a couple of weeks, maybe a month, maybe longer," Towery recounts.
Towery is a Chaplain who expects his mission to be a tough one.
"I expect to be plenty busy," he says. "That's one of the big reasons I'm sure I need to be there."
Towery understands that a combination of things might make this an even more distressing time than usual.
The chaplain is expected to provide counseling for lonely soldiers who miss their families, and for troops suffering from battle stress.
Two chaplains are flying over with eight members of the 43rd communications squadron, who will also provide support to the troops already in the region.
Air Force Sgt. Kenneth Ivey says he knows what to expect. "Most of us have been over there to the desert before so everyone knows what to expect," Ivey says.
But this time is different. "This time we're dropping bombs so it kind of changes everyone's tone right before the holidays," Ivey says.
Just before they departed, airmen and their families prayed together.