National Guard troops from Mississippi are helping with homeland security.
About 50 members of the 255th Air Control Squadron left Gulfport Friday morning, headed for a mission in Texas. They're supporting "Operation Noble Eagle."
Squadron Commander Gen. Harold Cross addressed members of the 255th before they headed out.
" There was an old saying one time that nobody loves a soldier until the enemy is at the gate. Well, the enemy is at the gate, he's within the gate. And believe me, the people of America love you."
The general expressed confidence in the men and women of the 255th Air Control Squadron. They'll be working to help "protect America's skies."
Nick Fuqua is trained for the task. But leaving loved ones, is never easy.
"I've been in it 18 years now. And no, it never gets any easier."
His wife echoed the concerns about missing loved ones.
"Jacob's going to be 1 next month. He'll be walking. The girls are going to be 11 and 9. And we're certainly going to miss Nick quite a bit," Natalie Fuqua said.
Guard members joined in prayer before hitting the road to Texas.
"So Father, right now, we also call upon You for Your hedge of protection around the men and women who will depart from this location today."
Flag clutching family and friends showed their patriotism and prepared to let loved ones do their duty. Military families are familiar with the anxiety of separation. But the uncertainty of today's troubled world makes this good bye that much more difficult.
Curtis Boyer will miss his wife and three daughters.
"You can see, I've got a beautiful family here. I love them all. And yes, I'm going to miss them. It's not easy leaving your family. But sometimes you have to go. And when the time comes, you just have to be brave and do what you have to do."
Members of the 255th headed out between lines of flag waving family and friends, moments after their commander voiced confidence and encouragement in the mission.
"Believe me, we're going to win this war. And it may take six months, it may take a year, it may take two years or however long it takes. The 255th is going to be right in the throws of the action," Gen. Cross said.
This homeland security mission is expected to last at least two months.