The soldiers are from the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion and will be doing intelligence support all over Afghanistan for 12 months. (WRDW-TV)
News 12 This Morning / Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012
FORT GORDON, Ga. -- It's the holiday season. It's a time to spend with family and friends, but for some, a part of their family will be missing this Christmas.
Fourteen families spent Thursday morning saying goodbye to their loved ones at Fort Gordon.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Castle hugged his seven children goodbye.
"My youngest daughter, she turns 1 on the 23rd, so I'm gonna miss her first birthday," he said. "With as many kids as I have, there are so many milestones that I'm going to miss."
Unlike many soldiers in his unit who will be deploying for the first time, this is Sgt. Castle's third deployment. This time he's leaving even more behind.
"Last time he left we only had four [children]," said his wife, Graciela Castle. "This time he leaves, and we've got a whole bunch more."
For his wife and daughter, the third time around is a lot harder because of all that happened during his deployment in 2008.
"Their vehicle got hit," Mrs. Castle said. "My husband was in it and his friend go hurt, so it's a lot of stress in getting that phone call and him being OK is still worrying. It stresses you."
"Worrying about if something else is gonna happen, just not knowing what's going on out there is scary," said their daughter Desiree.
The Castle family wasn't the only one saying goodbye this morning. The families and friends of the 14 soldiers all watched as they loaded up onto the bus and drove away for the next year.
The soldiers are from the 297th Military Intelligence Battalion and will be doing intelligence support all over Afghanistan for 12 months.
"I feel when I go on these deployments that I'm doing something good and not just for myself and not just for my family, but I'm helping someone out there. Something greater than myself, so it makes it easier for me," Sgt. Castle said.
But at this time of year, it's especially difficult because there really is no place like home for the holidays.
On a brighter note, the soldiers say technology is making each deployment a little bit easier. Being able to use Skype and Facebook allows them to see and talk to their families a lot more.