FORT BENNING, Ga., (Jan. 14, 2015) -- Soldiers from the 789th Explosive Ordnance Disposal Company gathered in Freedom Hall Jan. 7 as they prepared for their deployment to Afghanistan.

Capt. Ryan Plemmons, company commander of 789th EOD, said the unit's mission is to advise and assist the Afghan EOD units and provide force protection for U.S. Soldiers.

"The 789th was chosen for this mission because we were the most prepared to go at this point in time for our battalion," Plemmons said.

The unit was named the Army's best Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team of the Year in 2011, the first time the competition had been conducted since 2001.

In Afghanistan, the Soldiers will neutralize improvised explosive devices and conduct counter-IED missions.

The deployment has been in the works for six months, Plemmons said.

The events in Freedom Hall, however, were more than a gathering of Soldiers; it was also a time for farewell wishes from loved ones.

"The 789th Families, we have a very strong support group, the family readiness group," Plemmons said. "We really couldn't do what we are going over there to do without the support of our Families."

The majority of the unit is straight out of Explosive Ordnance School, Plemmons said, making this their first time stepping their boots on the dirt of a foreign land. The deployment came as a surprise for 1st Lt. Lee Muench, who said he found out he was deploying on his first day of reporting to his unit. He sought support from his Family, a few of whom he said had experience in the military.

"I talked to my dad quite a bit because he's done this before," Muench said, noting that he'll be taking a Bible along with him, which traveled overseas 20 years ago with his dad when he was deployed in the service.

His dad's best advice to him was to not worry about what was going on at home.

For others like Sgt. 1st Class Tyron Mathews, his Family had seen him through previous deployments.

Mathews' wife and three boys visited him in Freedom Hall before the scheduled deployment.

"My wife is a warrior, she might shed a few tears, but this isn't her first rodeo. She'll be all right; she will adjust," Mathews said.

He said this would be his fifth deployment.

"I just get prepared to do what I've been trained to do," Mathews said.

Aside from the necessary items on packing lists, Mathews said on each deployment he has brought with him some rosary beads given to him by his wife.

Plemmons said the timeline for the deployment was indefinite but the Soldiers were prepared to be there for as long as they are needed.