The Old North Church Worship Center in Canfield was filled Thursday afternoon with 130 soldiers from the 838th Military Police Company.
Family, friends and the community filled the rest of the church for their call to duty ceremony.
“Thanks to each of you for the sacrifices you’ve already made but specifically for the sacrifices you’re about to make,” Maj. Gen. Deborah Ashenhurt told the soldiers.
The men and women from the Ohio Army National Guard will be deploying to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Some have deployed before, like Capt. Jason Dancy, commander of the 838th.
However, when he deployed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, it was just he and his wife. This time, he will be leaving his children too.
“It’s a big difference now that you have a family you’re walking away from and my story is not unique at all. We got so many families here,” Dancy said.
Vienna native Brandon Brown will be heading overseas for the first time. His whole family was at the ceremony to show their support.
“It’s going to be hard but you know, it’s a sacrifice we gotta make for the country and I couldn’t be more proud of him. I really couldn’t,” said his father, Dave Brown.
Brown said leaving his son will be the hardest part, but he doesn’t regret enlisting.
“It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. I wouldn’t change it. It’s great. It really makes you grow up a lot,” Brown said.
The soldiers from the military police company will head to Camp Shelby in Mississippi on Sunday for training before deploying to Afghanistan.