By Ted Scouten

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Four hundred fifty men and women from the Florida National Guard 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry are deploying on a year-long mission to the Middle East.

“Today we are saying goodbye to our soldiers who are heading overseas for an awesome mission,” said Bailey Burnside.

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National Guard deployment on Oct. 8, 2021 (CBS4)

She will stay home and hold down the fort as her husband, Capt. Curtis Burnside, leaves for a year.  He’s deployed before, but he’s never left behind a wife and three little ones. He’s not sure what’s to expect.

“I’ve never gone and had to do that, so I can’t really tell you that right now.  I guess we’ll figure that out in about an hour and a half,” he said.

One thing he does know is there’s a lot he will miss.

“Mostly kissing them, hanging out with them, you know what I mean, seeing them play football, she just started walking. The milestones you miss when you’re overseas,” he said.

For the Montfort family, it was an emotional goodbye.

“I’m very sad but at least he’s going away to do what he has to do,” said Diana Montfort, daughter of Captain Kerven Montfort.

Montfort’s wife Angel said she knows there are tough days ahead for her and their four children.

“It feels like separating from reality. This morning I felt like I was watching myself be here, do this, because it’s so unreal to me,” she said.

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As Capt. Montfort kissed his kids goodbye, he understood what he’ll be missing over the next year and that weighed heavily on him.

“How do you look at all those little faces with all those tears and remain so strong?” asked CBS4’s Ted Scouten.

“I’ll wait until I get on the plane,” replied Capt. Montfort.

It’s not easy to leave family behind. These men and women will be heading to the Middle East, the National Guard can’t really give a lot of specifics about the mission.

“We’re going to be doing base security at a couple of different bases in three different countries in the area,” said Company Commander Capt. Jose Martinez.

National Guard deployment on Oct. 8, 2021 (CBS4)

Included in this deployment are soldiers who also work at BSO, Miami-Dade Police, and Miami Fire Rescue. They leave knowing there are lots of people back home who are ready and waiting to help however they can.

Miami Fire Rescue has two men going.

“We’ll be here to support and offer anything they may need,” said Lt. Pete Sanchez with Miami Fire Rescue. “Whether it’s painting a fence, fixing a door, taking their kids to school, whatever they need to support to fill the void while their husbands are serving our country, we’re there for them.”

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The soldiers will first train for a couple of weeks at Ft. Bliss in El Paso, Texas, then head to the Middle East. They will be gone 9 months to a year.

Ted Scouten