Tennessee Army National Guard 230th Signal Company has been deployed to a special mission in Iraq and Afghanistan. One hundred fifty soldiers left the Smyrna Airfield for the start of their yearlong deployment.
The timing of the deployment couldn't have come at a worse time for Specialist Michael Souza.
"I actually told him he wasn't allowed to deploy again unless I was pregnant or we had a child," said wife Kourtney Souza.
Little did they know she was pregnant.
"I had been joking for weeks that she was pregnant, you know, the sleep disorders and all of that," Specialist Souza said, "and then we find out she was pregnant and an hour later I get a call from the unit saying hey you're good to go."
Kourtney could give birth any day now.
"It's hard to think about he's going to miss the whole first year, but knew going into it what we were doing. I'm prepared," Kourtney Souza said.
Souza is part of the Tennessee Army National Guard 230th Signal Company. The unit is one of a kind and will be providing network support for US, NATO and coalition forces.
"We are the only Army National Guard unit of our kind in the country," said 230th Signal Company Commander Capt. Stephen Haley.
A deployment ceremony that was scheduled to get underway at 3:00 was more than an hour late. Weather delayed the plane that will be taking the soldiers to Texas for additional training.
The troops know deployment is never easy.
"It's always difficult when I have to leave my kids, but when the mission is called and it's time for the task to be done then I have step up and make that priority," said Sgt. Reba Reedy.
Kourtney Souza said even though her husband will miss the birth of their baby boy, he'll be close by with the help of something he knows all too well, technology.
"They have Skype now, as long as the Internet works over there he'll be able to see him every night," said Souza.
The unit will be in Fort Bliss, TX for about a month before heading out to Iraq and Afghanistan.