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Kansas National Guard Battery from Lenexa heading to Afghanistan

LENEXA, Kan. -- Thirty soldiers in the Kansas National Guard were honored at a deployment ceremony Friday evening in Lenexa.

Battery B, 2nd Battalion of the 130th Field Artillery, also known as "The Dirty 30," is heading to Afghanistan for 10 months. It's the first time the battery has been deployed in eight years, and comes at a time of increasing tensions overseas and here at home.

Sergeant Shawn Burns normally manages a country club pool in Lawrence, now he’ll be managing rocket artillery.

“What my team and I will be doing is we will be setting and sending fire missions to the launchers," Sgt. Burns said.

He’s never been deployed, but recently said goodbye to his mom when she shipped off to Kuwait. He was a third grader when she left the first time at the beginning of the Iraq War in 2004.

"So I know how it as a kid with deployed parents,” Sgt. Burns said.

"I'm nervous for him and nervous about everything, but we have a lot of family support," his wife Khwanta said while their 8-month-old daughter Adeline waved an American flag.

Ben Nicks, knows what’s it’s like to fight and watch his kids go off to war. The 98-year old World War II veteran was there to send off his grandson. Staff Sgt. Andrew Nicks serves in the exact same battalion and Field Artillery as his grandfather.

“I had a son go over to Vietnam and he was lost in Vietnam so when I look at these fellows, I think what could happen," Nicks said.

"Everybody has mixed feelings. Everybody is excited about the mission, but everybody is not wanting to leave their family," Lt. Curtis Parkhurst said about the 10-month deployment.

Those families stood and applauded their heroes as the Patriot Guard handed Lt. Parkhurst a flag signed by Lenexa residents saying “We Support Our Troops.”

That's something families say is even more important, when not everyone is happy with our country’s direction.

"They are doing it for the country even if they don’t care about it so you should support the troops," Sam Dodson said after taking photos with her brother and father.