Approximately 130 Soldiers from III Corps Headquarters departed Robert Gray Army Airfield Saturday, beginning a year-long deployment to the U.S. Army Central Command’s area of responsibility.

Family and friends packed Abrams Physical Fitness Center for farewells during a deployment ceremony prior to their airfield bus ride.

For Spc. Robert Holgate, a mechanic with Company A, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, this deployment is a first. He ensured his wife, Jennifer, had two deployment essentials; power of attorney and a solid support system with Family and friends.

“We made sure that we have taken care of everything financially,” he said. “Whatever I can do, she can now do. I can focus on my job.”

Strong support systems are what Glenda Lopez, hopes everyone creates. As the Co. A Family readiness group leader, she encourages everyone to find others that can relate to the stress of having a Soldier deployed.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s on post or off; find a club, find a gym buddy,” laughed Lopez. “I found that you get to talk to people. If you are worrying, you get that support. Never stay in the house.”

The wife of Capt. Jose Hernandez, Co. A commander, Glenda said this deployment makes five for her Family. She knows that the struggle to say goodbye eases over time and things do get better. She also takes comfort in technology; using internet video chat to stay connected to her husband.

“I get to see him,” she said. “I know he’s physically okay, and that helps.”

As the headquarters element for Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, III Corps Soldiers will be responsible for military efforts against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant in Iraq and Syria.

The III Corps command cased the unit’s colors Monday during a retreat ceremony. Remaining III Corps Soldiers are scheduled to deploy over the next several days.