175 Army Reserve soldiers preparing for 9-month deployment

175 Army Reserve soldiers headed to Kuwait

175 Army Reserve soldiers deployed for 9 months Saturday.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Right before the holidays, 175 Army Reserve soldiers are preparing to say goodbye to their families.

“It is a huge sacrifice but it's something that we're very proud of,” Kelly Lonis said.

She and her three kids came all the way from Syracuse to see their soldier off.

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“Thinking about saying goodbye, that’s the hard part. The really hard part,” she said.

The 175 Army Reserve soldiers are headed to U.S. Military Hospital Kuwait for 9 months.

They are medics, surgeons, nurses – you name it. Their mission: take care of our military members abroad.

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“For us, this is the end game. This is why we joined the reserves --  to deploy and take care of each other,” Lt. Colonel Melissa Mitravich said.

The soldiers will miss the holidays with their families, but they said technology makes the time apart a little easier.

“We’ll be able to FaceTime, which we couldn’t do in 2002,” Lonis said.

It's deployment number three for Staff Sergeant Chris Lance and his family. They live in Yulee.

“I’m proud to say he is deployed again, fighting for our country, doing something better,” June Lance said.

They head to Kuwait the first week of December. Until then, 8-year-old Christian Lance said he’s getting in all the hugs he can.

“I want him to know that I love him very much,” he said.

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