CLINTON, MS (WLBT) - Sgt. Robert Short of Florence is stealing as many kisses as he can from his young son. After a sendoff ceremony at Clinton High School Wednesday morning, Short won't see his 6 month old for a year.
A member of the 114th military police company, Short is one of 170 soldiers mobilizing to serve in Iraq.
"It's hard to leave the little one and my wife. I'm just ready to start training and go over there and do my job and come back home," said Sgt. Short. "Just pray for us and our family."
The unit will train at Camp Shelby in Hattiesburg for a month before deploying overseas to train Iraqi police.
Short's wife, Lauren, knows what that's like. She served in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 as a specialist with the 113th company.
"It's different on this side. As a soldier, you're like, well I'm going to do my job, come home, everything's going to be great. As a spouse, you're dealing with, I got my family here, my husband's fixing to leave," said Specialist Short.
Every one of the soldiers in the Clinton-based unit is sacrificing time with their loved ones to serve their country. For some, like Specialist Kanika Young of Claiborne County, it's their first deployment.
"I'm nervous, more worried about my children and my mom. But I know once they keep me in my prayers, that everything is going to be ok," said Specialist Young.
Others, like company commander Captain Micah Taylor, have served overseas before.
"This time around, I know what headaches lie ahead," said Capt. Taylor. "It's a little bit more difficult the second time around because of the knowing. Sometimes the unknown is a blessing in disguise."
For all of the soldiers, the community rallied around them, wishing them well and thanking them for their service and their sacrifices.