Members of HAFB civil engineer squadron leave for Afghanistan

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Twenty-six members of the U.S. Air Force Reserve left Salt Lake City Saturday morning to begin their service in Afghanistan.

These reservists are part of Hill Air Force Base's 419th Fighter Wing's Civil Engineer Squadron. They are part of the troop surge in Afghanistan and will be stationed at Bagram Air Field.

The Utah soldiers will build and rebuild infrastructure and establish plumbing and electrical systems.

"It's just a whole gamut of emotions: You are really excited to go, you're nervous, you're sad that you're going to be missing your family. But I think it's important that your family recognizes that freedom isn't free and we all have to sacrifice for the things we enjoy," said reservist Jeffery Mansfield.

For one family, this deployment is especially difficult.

"I'm expecting, and this is his first time leaving, so I am proud of him," said Cecilia Rae. "It's going to be hard not being with him, but it's a good experience."

"We're just trying to figure out how we're going to be able to communicate. Hopefully through Skype or something I can see the delivery," reservist Geiber Rae said.

The group will train at Fort McCoy, Wis., before going to Afghanistan. They're scheduled to be overseas for about six months.

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