STORM LAKE, Iowa (KTIV) -- Imagine being away from your family for a year.
No tucking your kids into bed. No hugs from your spouse.
Saturday, about 100 Iowa Guard members based in Storm Lake will face that reality as they begin their deployment to Afghanistan.
One last game of hoops on their home court. A good distraction for members of the Iowa Guard's 34th Infantry, 334th Brigade Support Battalion.
As they prepare for deployment, every soldier gets ready in their own way.
Sergeant First Class Louis DeRoos said, "We've done a lot of camping."
But one thing they all have in common. Making sure their home front is taken care of.
Specialist Glenn Curtis, US Army National Guard said, "At this point, I'm pretty much as ready as I can be. I've set up all my point of contacts with my family."
And getting ready is what this day is about. Rehearsal for their send off on Friday.
While saying goodbye to loved ones is never easy, most here have already been making plans on how to stay in touch overseas.
Private Nicholas Schultzen, US Army National Guard said, "I have Skype on my phone and for the laptop. I'm going to keep in contact while I'm gone."
Specialist John Johnston, US Army National Guard said, "My soldiers that don't have it, I'll try and hook them up so they can talk with their wife."
Specialist Cameron Manteufel, US Army National Guard said, "Phone calls and Internet, just whatever we can. Anything."
Some say they're even prepared to put pen to paper.
Specialist Glenn Curtis said, "That letter means everything to you. That's your contact home. You know what your loved ones, your family, friends, what they're all doing, what they're about."
They'll be making and waiting on calls, messages, and letters to and from home while fighting for freedom half a world away.
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