There were gestures of friendship and love as friends and family prepared to say goodbye to the men and women of two guard aviation units being mobilized to Kuwait as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
"I wish (the end) was already and that everyone was home safe," said Patti Kowloski, a relative of a guardsman. "Enough is enough already. I think we've done a good job."
A mix of mothers and fathers, spouses and siblings gathered for the departure ceremony for Company B-935th Aviation Support Battalion and Company B-106th Aviation Regiment, where Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and commanders greeted the companies.
"This is an exciting experience," said Spc. Dedirick Rent. "I'm just ready to go out and experience new things."
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel told the soldiers the city is proud of them.
The approximately 170 soldiers that comprise the aviation units will be gone for almost a year.
"Families get to have the support of each other," said Spc. Rem Zivalich. "You get to meet the families. It helps so it'snice."
This will be his second deployment to the region, and like before, Richard Trujillo leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.
"I'm sad but kind of happy he is able to serve his country in a good way," said his daughter, Angela.
"It's hard doing what we do," Richard Trujillo said. "But it is a very good feeling when we get to come home when we've completed our mission."