NEENAH, Wis. (WFRV) – The 395th Ordnance Army Reserve Unit in Neenah is preparing a farewell ceremony before they deploy overseas.

The ceremony will give the opportunity to the soldiers’ families to see their loved ones before they leave.

One of the 24 soldiers, Lt. Grant Erickson, has served in the army for 5 years and says representing his country is his calling.

“You have an opportunity to go into the world as a representative of the country you care about so much and to try and be the best representative of what it means to be an American to those abroad,” Lt. Erickson says.

Sgt. Edgar Salzlar, who is in charge of training and operations for the Ordnance, feels sending the unit off is bittersweet.

He says, “I’ll be retiring here in about 6 months, so this will probably be my last time sending off soldiers. It’s kind of hard on me, but by the same token, it means a lot to me because a lot of these soldiers, once I leave, I’ll never see them again.”

For Lt. Erickson, the deployment comes with mixed emotions.

“It’s a sense of pride, and obviously a sense of excitement that I’d say is tempered with a sense of sadness because there will be a long period of time where you’re away from family and or friends. For me personally, as a father of young kids, this is a very visceral way for me to demonstrate to my children that there are some things in life that are worth sacrificing for,” Lt. Erickson says.

The deployment is expected to be nine months to a year. The farewell ceremony will take place Friday, February 3rd, with Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, expected to attend.