Over 300 Fort Worth-area soldiers were sent to Kuwait on Saturday morning with hugs from the family members who came to see them off.
The 90th Aviation Support Battalion, an Army Reserve group based in Fort Worth and led by Lt. Col. Lee Hyder, is leaving for a new home in the Middle East for the next nine months.
The group is primarily made up of air traffic controllers, refuelers, truck drivers and other positions to operate airfields, said Capt. Alan S. Moss, an Army spokesman.
The departure ceremony allowed the families of the soldiers a chance for final goodbyes and the opportunity to give a proper send-off. They also packed the colors of the battalion for transport overseas.
The deployment comes as the United States is stepping up involvement in Iraq, with an extremist group, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, seizing a large section of northern Iraq after taking much of northeastern Syria. President Barack Obama said Friday that the United States will not take military action in Iraq unless the government addresses political troubles, The Associated Press reported.