'If anything ever does happen ... my family will be there to help'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Twenty US soldiers were honored in a deployment ceremony at the Webb Army Reserve Center in Eugene as they prepare for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

It was an emotional day for twenty Eugene families as they gathered to support their loved ones heading off to Afghanistan. For some, this is not the first time they have had to part from their family. This is the second time the 971st Army Reserve Unit has deployed to Afghanistan.

"It's hard, and we hate to say goodbye," said Sarah Vaughan as she embraced her husband, Joseph. "But we know that they are doing what they love to do and want to do for their country."

The unit will leave for training at Fort Hood in Texas on Sunday before heading off to war.

Captain Matt Mitchell led the ceremony as other unit leaders said prayers and shared encouraging words with the families.

"I try to make sure that we all communicate and that we trust one another so that when we are faced with difficulties later on we can communicate effectively," Capt. Mitchell said.

The ceremony was filled with tender moments as the departing soldiers laughed, hugged and enjoyed each moment with family.

Joseph and Sarah Vaughan have been married for 9 years and have two girls. She told KVAL News she already has a plan for how they will keep in touch over the next year.

"We do a lot of letters, and a lot of email and pictures. That's a big thing for all the soldiers," Sarah said.

Joseph Vaughan said the unit is close and has worked together for a long time. They specialize in controlling the movement of convoys and equipment.

"We will be moving millions of pounds of equipment and hundreds of soldiers to and from where ever they need to go. We control the logistics of getting them there," Vaughan said.

Although he will be far away from home Vaughan said it's comforting knowing he can depend on his family.

"If anything ever does happen that I can't control or do anything about, I know that any one of the members of my family will be there to help," said Vaughan.

While the unit doesn't know exactly when they will be returning home, they have heard it could be sometime next spring.