Members of the 184th arrived at Camp Shelby on December 9th to train for their Iraqi deployment. Monday's ceremony at the base was to say thank you to the men and women of the unit who represent the front line against terrorism.
Commander Chuck Hardee says, "We've traveled the first few miles of a very long journey. The next phase of it begins today."
As a small reminder of home, Salvation Army representatives and families of the soldiers handed out care packages to the unit. Then it was time to chat and snap pictures with family and friends.
The last hours are precious, as the 184th will leave Wednesday.
184th Member Craig Sumrall says, "Go home, finish packing, eat some lunch and visit with the family."
His wife, Jill, says, "Spending as much time with him as I can and make sure he has everything he needs and just be there for my kids."
Craig's father, Mike, says, "He's well trained. He knows how to take care of himself and the soldiers so he'll be all right and they'll come back."
As they spend this short time with families, no one wants to dwell on the dangerous part of the world where they're headed.
Marvin Blackmon says, "At first I was like nervous and scared and all that but you just get over it and do what you've got to do and pray that you come back."
His mother, Margaretta Blackmon, says, "I'm a little apprehensive but I know it's something that he has to do and we're just praying that he returns home safely."
Blackmon's sister, Melissa, says "I'm not that concerned cause I know he's going to come back the same way, so I'm just waiting for him to come back."
The wait won't be short. The 184th will be gone at least a year. The 184th is in charge of making sure containers full of supplies get to the troops.