Hundreds of men and women are answering the call from Uncle Sam. Several companies held ceremonies this afternoon. Members of the Alabama army national guard 1-67th infantry battalion are deploying.
Members of the Alabama Army National Guards company 167th Infantry Battalion headquartered in Talladega gathered for departure ceremonies in preparation for their call to active duty.
This ceremony held in Cullman this morning is one of several units of the 167th battalion. It's a time of encouragement for the soldiers and their families.
Sgt. James Hayden of Birmingham, in the 167th's company served in 2007-2008 in Iraq. But he says this time leaving home is different. He's married with a daughter Hallee.
"It's gonna be different but I volunteered to be a soldier . You can't say nothing when you're called up do it," he said.
Another unit of 167th gathered in Oxford. And here it too looks much like a family gathering as 65 members and their families and friends there mentally get ready for departure to Afghanistan.
The veterans here who've been deployed before offer some advice. Members of the 167th will head to a training station before deployment late this summer.