Third Brigade Deployment Begins

The first soldiers of the Third Brigade left for iraq early Sunday morning.

These fifty soldiers are a part of what's called the "torch" party. They light the way for the rest of the brigade.

We spoke to soldiers and their families as they prepared to leave.

Without much fanfare, just a few hugs and pats on the back, these fifty soldiers get ready for the long trip to Iraq.

It's just the beginning of a three week process to get the over three thousand Third Brigade soldiers to the Middle East. A deployment these soldiers say they're ready for.

"In our minds we all feel we're gonna be alright and we're gonna do a good job," said Capt. Mike Mattessich,Third Brigade soldier.

Family members accompanied most of the troops. Soldiers have prepared the best they can but loved ones say it'll be tough not knowing how long they'll be gone. Commanders have told soldiers this deployment is for a minimum of twelve months but could be extended.

"I just keep them encouraged, let them know I'm fine, everything's lovely and mostly tell them I can't wait on my family care packets," said Sgt. Letty Bolton,Third Brigade soldier.

And for one soldier, while he knows the job will be tough in Iraq, he says knowing his family is worrying is the hardest part of leaving.

"Just today, I've probably gotten abut ten phone calls from family members, aunts, uncles and cousins. And just to know that they're worrying about you,  it's not stressful on you but it just makes you feel like you wish there was something you could do to not make them worry," said Mattessich.

Like we said these are the first Third Brigade soldiers to leave. In the coming week or so troops will go through soldier readiness checks.

Each soldier must make sure their personal affairs are in order, like insurance and wills. Most battalions will get one more weekend of leave before the main deployment starts.