Family members and friends gathered Saturday morning in Pitt County for a special ceremony honoring more than 170 National Guard soldiers who will soon be deployed.
The Mobilization Ceremony was held at Pitt Community College.
The soldiers are part of the North Carolina National Guard's 514th Military Police Company. Their next stop is Fort Bliss Texas where they will undergo their final training before being deployed to Afghanistan.
Many soldiers told WITN they were happy to be a part of the ceremony.
National Guard soldier Aaron Garcia said, "I'm very proud to be here. I love the service, love to serve my country, so it gives me time to put something else out there for everyone else."
Beth Capstaff is a family member of a soldier. She said, "My dad was in the Navy and my mom was a military brat and I was just talking to my brother about how it's very exciting that so many people can be like this because it seems like America kind of forgets. It's nice that so many people are here and so moved by it. All these people said they volunteered so it's really exciting."
Once in Afghanistan the unit will assist both Afghan and forces from other nations to perform joint missions throughout the country.