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DULUTH - It was a tearful goodbye for Northland families after 150 troops left for a mission in Afghanistan.
They've deployed for operation “Enduring Freedom" and will be in combat for the next 2 months.
Twenty-year-old Chelsea Lien is just one of the nearly 150 airmen leaving for Afghanistan.
"I was a little nervous at first but I'm feeling great now," said 148th First Class Airmen Chelsea Lien.
Operation “Enduring Freedom” is her first deployment.
"I'm really excited about it, you know it’s gonna be a really great experience, it’s gonna be kinda like an adventure," said Lien.
"I couldn't be much prouder,” said Chelsea’s dad Jay Lien. “So proud in fact I'm getting choked up now.”
“Me too,” said Chelsea’s mom Joan Lien.
“All of a sudden you’re talking to me and uh couldn’t be much prouder," said Jay.
The 148th Fighter Wing’s primary mission at the Kandahar Airfield is to support ground troops.
"They're going to be doing air missions essentially overhead close air support and supporting the ground commander and the troops on the ground in Afghanistan," said 148th Vice Commander Lieutenant Colonel Jon Safstrom.
At the base they said their goodbyes.
Moms and dads being deployed stocked up on two months worth of hugs and kisses from their children.
"It's always the hardest part we're pretty close knit," said Carrie Ezel whose husband is a 148th airmen.
Couples cuddled in their last moments together.
"I'm very proud of him for going but being apart for that amount of time isn't something I look forward to," said Kristi Wagner who’s boyfriend is a 148th airmen.
"Anxious,” said 148th Fighter Wing Tech Sergeant Nathaniel Ezell.
“He’s anxious and I'm like, just wanna hold him and get away from everybody," said Carrie.
While all of the airmen are leaving so much behind.
"My friends my family of course you know the food," said Chelsea.
They say they will gain an experience of a lifetime.
"Very honored,” said Nathaniel. “If I had a choice to do this again or not I would have definitely chosen to do it again."
At the airport the Bulldogs boarded the enormous 747 plane and took off into the night to fight the global war on terror.
The airmen have been extensively training for this mission for the last six months.
About 60 of them have deployed and are already at the Kandahar Airfield.
Some families of the airmen will have key volunteers from a family readiness group for moral support.