JACKSONVILLE, N.C. - Families in North Carolina are saying goodbye to loved ones with no idea when they’ll be back as thousands of troops deployed to the Middle East amid escalating tensions resulting from a deadly U.S. airstrike.
On Monday, it was business as usual at Fort Bragg, but over the weekend, planes full of soldiers were leaving the base.
The post is home to some of the Army's elite special forces. The timing of this deployment to the Middle East has sent somewhat of a shockwave through this tight community.
Community members are coming together to support the brave men and women moving out, as well as the families they’re leaving behind.
The USO of NC wasted no time getting out to help these soldiers. Near the runway where the brave men and women were leaving American soil, the USO set up its mobile center.
Volunteers have spent the past few days making sure soldiers were well taken care of with hot meals and televisions where the troops could watch the weekend’s NFL playoff games.
Brian Knight served with the 82nd Airborne and now supports those same soldiers as a volunteer. Knight calls the 82nd ‘America’s 911’.
When the president called, these men and women started deploying in a matter of hours. For many, the sacrifice seems overwhelming, but Knight says these men and women are just doing what they are trained to do.
“We've been at war for 19 years and this has brought it back to the forefront of American population - service members are still deploying and they need your support for serving our nation. They enjoy doing what they do this is what they train for and they are excited,” Knight said.
The deployment comes after a drone strike ordered by President Donald Trump killed a top Iranian general.
Iran has vowed to retaliate and Iraq's parliament responded by voting Sunday to oust U.S. troops based in the country.