FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Hundreds of members of the Florida Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment, left southeast Florida for the first step in their deployment.
A deployment ceremony was held Sunday for the service members, according to the Florida National Guard.
About 600 U.S. service members are leaving for the Horn of Africa in support of Operation Freedom's Sentinel.
Loved ones, dignitaries and military leaders gathered at the Sheltair Hangar at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport for the ceremony.
According to David Marrero, a combat veteran and member of the 1/124 Infantry Battalion, the group is headed to Ft. Bliss then Djibouti, Africa. The group includes units from West Palm Beach, Cocoa Beach, Hollywood and Miami.
Marrero said there were tearful goodbyes from friends and family members inside the hangar before the departure.