Columbia (WACH) -- Members of the South Carolina Army National Guards 742nd Support Maintenance Company said goodbye to family and friends at a departure ceremony Friday at the National Guard armory on Bluff Road in Columbia.
At the ceremony, three and a half year old Noah Romuld watched the Guard members march in as they prepared for war. He may not have fully understood what was happening, but his parents certainly did. His father Randy knew he would be deployed one day, and that day has come.
The one thing on his mind during the farewell ceremony was, "leaving my family behind...making sure they are safe," he said.
Romuld and his wife of five years have said their goodbyes before, but only for weeks at a time. Sunday Romuld and his fellow soldiers head to Fort Hood, Texas, for pre-deployment training before they head to Afghanistan in late March for one year.
"I'm very scared, but we are relying on God and we know that he is going to get us through," Romuld's wife said in an interview while she wiped away tears.
To ease the transition, Romuld recorded bed time stories for little Noah so he can listen to them every night.
The mission of the 742nd is maintenance of vehicles, small arms and electronics equipment. The company is expecting to perform these maintenance duties and other tasks in Afghanistan.
More than 130 soldiers will deploy to southern Afghanistan.