|Updated: 6/12/2012 5:34 pm
||Published: 6/12/2012 3:40 pm
Thousands of soldiers have come home, but members of Oklahoma’s Army National Guard are preparing to deploy to Afghanistan.
Soldiers from the 120th Engineer Battalion based out of Broken Arrow are spending these last few days training at Camp Gruber outside of Braggs. Before their boots touch the ground in Afghanistan, the men and women will be put to the ultimate test.
"We had some good training so I feel pretty confident in my skills and my equipment,” says Sergeant Jessica Watkins.
Their mission is to make the roads safer for soldiers and civilians. They will do this by finding and removing IED’s in the area. For Watkins, this is her second deployment, but having been through it before doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye.
"My mom was really good last time. She sent me a care package every week. She works at Bank First in Prague so all the ladies would get together and send me packages every week,” says Watkins.
Working as a medic, she knows her days could get really long at times.
"It was difficult to see soldiers come in and be hurt, but it was also rewarding because you get to see them recover and get better,” says Watkins.
Alongside her will be Staff Sergeant Cody Wilson and his brand new bride Amanda.
"I asked her out on a date after our training and it took sushi to get her to go out, so I conned her into going out on a date and we have haven't been apart since,” says Wilson.
The couple has mixed feelings about deploying together.
"It's exciting but stressful. Under normal circumstances it's pretty stressful anyways but add the fact that your wife is there and it's going to be more stressful because I worry about her constantly,” says Wilson.
One the soldiers leave Oklahoma, they will meet up with other units from around the country at Fort Bliss, Texas. They will then go to Afghanistan. The guardsmen and women are expected to be deployed for at least 9 months.