A new year may be underway, but it’s just the start of another familiar mission overseas. More than 170 airmen from Moody Air Force Base are now making their way to Iraq.
It's another tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The 822nd Security Forces Squadron made its final preparations for a return trip to Iraq on Wednesday. The squadron will be relieving another Moody-based squad that is currently protecting a U.S. airfield in Kircook, Iraq.
MAJ Don Robertson says, "While we're over there, we'll be responsible for the defense of Kircook Air Base. That's perimeter defense, entry control points, trying to keep suicide bombers out and basically keeping the area safe."
SSGT Beau Mader says, "Every time you go into the country (Iraq) it’s never old hand. There's no complacency, that's pretty much our number one enemy in terms of within the force."
The deployment can be a very difficult time for the airmen and their families, but family members say they're grateful for the time to say good-bye, and from here on out they will rely on friends and family here at home to help them get through the deployment.
Jessica Jones the wife of an airman, says, "We go home just about every weekend and when I don't have to work we go home, so almost every weekend we'll go home to spend time with the family."
It’s a long time for the families left behind, but with the hope of a reunion in about four to five months.
Both airmen and their families say deploying in January is a luxury because they were able to enjoy the holidays at home for the first time in years.