INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Nearly 130 Indiana National Guard men and women were given a farewell sendoff Saturday before they began a year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
Hundreds of friends and family members packed into the Indian Creek High School gym for the departure ceremony for the 14-38th Transportation Company.
Among the soldiers was Kyla Sampsel, 28, of Camby. It's her second tour overseas but her first time since she became a parent.
After the ceremony, she hugged her 2-year old son, Memphis.
"I don't want to leave him," she said, tears welling up. "But I have to be strong. Don't we bub?"
"You have to be proud of them," said Sampsel's mother, Pam Seip. "Look what they're doing. I mean that's a good group of people, and (Kyla) isn't the only one leaving a child."
Artis Thomas of Indianapolis was holding his 4-week old daughter, Brianna.
"I just hope she isn't walking when I get back," he joked.
"The nation has asked us to do a big job and we're excited to do it," said Captain Troy Forston.
The unit will be hauling equipment across the country and doing other combat missions including convoy security.
A winter weather advisory was issued for Wayne, Union, Switzerland, Ripley, Ohio, Franklin, Fayette and Dearborn counties on Saturday night.
IMPD officials say a 3-year-old boy has died after he was shot in the head Saturday evening.
With seventeen shopping days remaining, customers are steadily visiting gift stores along Mass Ave. in downtown Indianapolis.