SCHOFIELD BARRACKS - More than 350 Soldiers from the 45th Sustainment Brigade formally said goodbye to their families and friends during a deployment ceremony Jan. 9 at Hamilton Field here. Later this month the Soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan to begin a 12-month rotation and assume responsibility for the Joint Logistics Command.

"We (will) provide everything needed to sustain the war fighters in Afghanistan," said Col. Clay Hatcher, Commander, 45th Sustainment Brigade. "We will provide their food and their water. We provide all their fuel and all their repair parts."

However the ceremony focused on the theme of family.

"We have been in combat for seven years", said MG Raymond Mason, 8th TSC Commander. "This is longer than World War II, and it would have not been possible without the support of families."

For most of the families assembled the ceremony was a stark reminder that very soon, they would have to say, "goodbye" to their Soldier. For the Soldiers it was a reminder of what they would miss.

"I\'ve missed them walking and I've missed at least one of their first birthdays here or there, but it is hard," said Sgt. 1st Class Duane Bowen.

Bowen, who has been in the Army for 20 years will leave three children behind with his wife, Crystal. Some of the Soldiers were fortunate that they did not have to say goodbye to their spouses for a year. Married specialists Diogo and Abby Ordacowski, will deploy together.

"For our first deployment we were separated", said Spc. Diogo Ordacowski. "However know we are privileged to go together. It will definitely be a lot easier this time." Ordacowski's wife Abbey agreed, "We are well prepared, and mentally ready to go, plus we will have the emotional support of each other."

The two Ordacowaski's will be working together in the brigade's mission support platoon.

As the first group of Soldiers left for Afghanistan in early January there were hugs exchanged and goodbyes said. While the Soldiers of the 45th are off in a distant land, an "emotional" battle will go on as the families are left on the home front. Yet, one can only think of the lyrics of a popular World War I song which state, "Keep the home fires burning, while your hearts are yearning, though your (soldiers) are far away."