The men and women salute in honor of their country at the Punxsutawney Community Center Wednesday morning.
The same group will soon put their lives on the line. They’re the 665 Engineer Utilities Detachment and they will be deployed to Iraq at the end of the week.
The army reserve soldiers will be overseas for about a year, completing construction related missions.
“It is a bittersweet moment because the soldiers are going and but yet they’re going to do something that’s worthy,” says the 665th Detachment Commander, CPT John Kennelly.
This is Private First Class Kayla Stephenson’s first deployment. The 19-year-old will be taking a break from her college studies to serve.”I’m very excited I’m very confident in the training I’ve had. Very confident in the leaders I’ve had,” says Stephenson.
The soldier Spent her day alongside her family, like many others. Some are leaving young children behind. Jordan Bish has two kids under two years old. “Obviously it’ll be hard but I’ll have contact with them, letters,” says Bish.
It’s something Bish says he’s been ready for since he first enlisted when he was 17. “Many of these soldiers being reservists do this very job they do in the army as civilian careers,” adds Kennelly.
The group is 54 soldiers strong. They say they may not be big in numbers, but they are large in force. Hence why their motto is ‘never so much by so few’. “That’s our way of saying we’re here. We’re small but we can still do it,” says Kennelly.
The soldiers will be deployed on Friday.