AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Hundreds of people around the state are getting ready to say goodbye to their loved ones when a unit of National Guardsmen deploy to Afghanistan Sunday.
A send-off ceremony was held today for the 488th Military Police Company. The unit's primary mission will be mentoring and training the Afghan National Army and Police. The soldiers have spent the past few months doing basic warrior training, as well as learning about Afghan culture. The 122 soldiers were offered prayers and words of encouragement during their sendoff. Their unit commander, Captain Eric Dos Santos, says the soldiers' families can sometimes take a backseat to training in the final months before a deployment. He tells his six year-old son that it's all part of being a soldier.
"Daddy doesn't want to go away from home, Daddy has an important job to do," Dos Santos tells his son. "And he understands that it's important and he understands the sacrifice and he's willing to make it."
The 488th Military Police Company is a new unit based out of Waterville. This will be its first deployment.