As part of President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan surge, 200 Marines packed their bags and said goodbye to their families Wednesday morning as they deployed to the war.
This round of Marines from the Camp Lejeune-based 1st Battalion, 6th Marines.
"Brought my family down for the weekend and just enjoying what time I have with them," Lance Corporal Manuel Cervantez told WITN as he waited for his first deployment to begin.
While some Marines played cards, others tried to catch a last minute nap as they waited on transport planes to load up.
Earlier this month President Obama ordered 30,000 additional troops be sent to Afghanistan. More than 1,500 Marines from Camp Lejeune are expected to leave before Christmas and an additional 6,200 are set to follow next year.
"For our younger guys we try to talk to them and help them out on what to tell their families," said Lance Corporal Paul Schroeder.
The Marines are the first of the 30,000 to head to Afghanistan. A platoon leader says they're ready for whatever meets them in combat.