FT. KNOX, Ky. (WDRB) -- In a ceremony steeped in tradition, Ft. Knox deployed 148 engineer soldiers to the war zone in Afghanistan on Wednesday.
The soldiers stood at attention, men and women from different backgrounds and different places, but bound together by a desire to serve.
During the ceremony, their commander, Lt. Col. Brad Morgan, told the soldiers to trust their training, and their instincts.
“You stand before us today, a trained, ready and lethal engineer fighting force,” said Morgan.
The soldiers are members of the 42nd Clearance Company. They are nicknamed the Legends, and for good reason. Their job is to clear the roads of obstacles, including bombs.
“It is dangerous work, but that comes with the job description,” said Lt. Joseph Frost. “This is what we all signed up for. This is what we really want to do.”
This is Capt. Aaron Beattie's third trip to the Mideast, but this time he's leaving his two-year-old daughter, Jo Jo, behind.
“You try to make as much communication as possible, and make those bridges very tight and close-knit,” he said.
Beattie’s mother, Joann, said the deployments never become routine.
“It does not get any easier, you just pray harder,” she said.
It is the first deployment overseas for Capt. Rebecca Sauter.
“A little nervous since it is my first time. Not really sure what to expect with that, but I feel confident in my soldiers,” said Sauter.
Sauter's family said this is all she has ever wanted to do, and the reason she went to West Point.
“We're proud of her, and we know she's got the training to do well. We're just nervous and excited for her,” said sister Charlotte.
Sauter’s father Andrew said he raised his children to have a sense of duty.
“I'll just watch and pray, and just hope that everything goes, well not only for my daughter but the entire team that's out there,” he said.
The 42nd heads to Afghanistan knowing that Ft. Knox has a system in place to support the families left behind.
“Our soldiers could not do the things that they're asked to do day in and day out without that support network behind them,” said Morgan.
Afghanistan may be America's longest war, but Lt. Frost said the resolve of the soldiers remains strong.
“You're willing to do whatever it takes to make sure the mission gets accomplished, and our family and loved ones back home stay safe.”
The 42nd Clearance Company is scheduled to return in August of next year.
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