Craig Day, News On 6
UNDATED -- More than 3,000 Oklahomans in uniform will soon head to Afghanistan.
There's a farewell ceremony Wednesday in Oklahoma City for members of the 45th Infantry from all over the state.
It will be the largest deployment of the Oklahoma national guard since the Korean War.
Tuesday, News On 6 talked with one Oklahoma soldier preparing to leave, and a military mom saying goodbye for a third time.
Clifford Sallas is giving his five-year-old daughter Bethany a few more horsy rides before he has to ride off for his country.
Sallas and other members of Oklahoma's 45th Infantry are being deployed to Afghanistan.
"I'm excited. I'm anxious. And I just can't wait," he said.
The deployment will last about a year. He knows with young children, including one year old Brooke, kids change so much in a year's time.
Being away from them will be tough.
"You go from playing with them and spending time with them every day to not being able to do that. You know, you miss the little things," Sallas said.
Although leaving his wife and children will be tough, Sallas is looking forward to the mission.
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. If you don't get it started, you will never get it done," he said.
But for this soldier's mother, like many military moms, it will be difficult to tell him goodbye.
"It's not easy," she said.
It's never easy. But for Sherry Ross, she has triple the worry. Clifford is her third son to go off to war. Younger brothers Christopher and Michael are already serving right now in Afghanistan.
"I worry about them. You know, I keep telling them if you can get on the computer and you can talk to your wives, talk to them first. Because they'll always let me know they are ok," Ross said.
There is three times the worry, but also three times the pride for this Oklahoma military mom.
"I couldn't get any prouder. They are my best friends. All three of them," Ross said.
For her latest son to go off to war, it's a little more time with his wife and little ones, and then training at camp Gruber and Ft. Polk, Louisiana, before leaving for Afghanistan.
"You don't want to leave your family or anything, but you know what you're doing is the right thing," Sallas said.
Sallas' brothers will be rotating back to the United States about the time he leaves for Afghanistan.
Newson6.com will live stream Wednesday's farewell ceremony for the 45th Infantry from Oklahoma City beginning at 11:30.