The last few moments of life at home for about 300 Fort Carson soldiers took place in a gym on post.
They are their last moments of peace. They'll soon be at war.
"I'm pretty excited to get over there and do what I signed up to do," said PFC Tracy Morgan.
They get a good meal...a shot at a few video games and a chance to make a few last minute calls to friends and family before heading out.
Most won't see their loved ones for the better part of a year.
"My dad's in Baghdad right now,” said PFC Shane Thomas.
He’s one of the only exceptions.
At 18, private Thomas is like a few of these soldiers taking their first trip the war zone, but he might just see his dad who's already there.
"I feel more comfortable knowing my dad's in country...I'll feel more comfortable with guys I'm serving with. They're just as much my brothers as the ones I was born with," said Thomas.
About 70 percent of the 37-hundred 2nd BCT troops are already battle tested with a year deployment under their belts.
This time they're part of a much bigger team.
"We've got the Iraqi army now, Iraqi police part of the formula now. They're not as capable or where they need to be, but our mission is to get them in the lead, or we're never going to be able to leave," said COL Jeff Bannister.
It is their mission that lies ahead, but their hearts are with those they leave behind. By now all have had their goodbye embrace with their families at home...and though many have done it before...it's one part that never gets any easier.
"We've kind of learned to adapt to this new concept that we have to say goodbye to family for about a year. It's tough every time," CSM William Johnson said.
These soldiers are looking at almost 24 hours of travel before they get to the Middle East.
They'll stop in Kuwait for about three weeks to re-qualify with their equipment...commanders say their next stop will be Baghdad.
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