FESTUS, Mo. - As U.S. troops start coming home from Afghanistan soldiers from Missouri are deploying to the country.
From construction workers to teachers; as civilians, they come from all ranks of life. But for the next nine months these Missourians will be soldiers.
Roughly 140 members of the Missouri National Guard's 220th Engineering Company are deploying to Afghanistan to disassemble much of what the U.S. military built in its time there and help fellow soldiers come home safely.
"Nervous. Not going to lie, scared. But I guess that comes naturally with being in the military and deploying to somewhere I've never been," said Sgt. Ryan Snider.
Friday, from the governor on down, these men and women heard orders to focus on their mission and come home safe, and to call home while they're away. Commanders say staying in touch from a half a world away is mission critical when coming from a world of constant communication.
"When you're used to that and all of a sudden you take that away it breeds a little fear in both the soldier and the home life and it does affect people on the battlefield if the home life is shaken a little," said Capt. Michael Paluczak. "We're going to take care of each other and get ourselves home in a safe manner."
"I didn't join the military for the money. It's something I have to do," said Snider.
And for everyone else without a loved one overseas?
"Just keep us in their prayers. And when we need somebody to talk and a shoulder to cry on that they'll be there for us," said Nancy Greer.
The families have a few more hours with their soldiers before they leave from Lambert Saturday morning. They'll train in Texas for about six weeks and then head to Afghanistan.