FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Hundreds of U.S. soldiers received a warm send-off from loved ones in Fort Lauderdale.

On Friday morning, families shared a few tears, a few hugs and savored those final moments before saying goodbye.

The Florida National Guard hosted the send-off for 450 U.S. soldiers heading for deployment.

“Today we are saying goodbye to our soldiers as they head overseas for an awesome mission,” said military wife Bailey Burnside.

The First Battalion 124th Infantry Regiment is leaving for a U.S. command center.

The brave men and women will be leaving for approximately a year under Operation Spartan Shield.

“It is not easy,” said Burnside. “That’s what families are for, we’re here to be the backbone and support our soldiers.”

Burnside is saying goodbye to her husband, Capt. Curtis Burnside. She, like so many wives, husbands, mothers and fathers said this moment is nothing short of surreal.

“It feels like separating for reality,” said military wife Angel Montford. “Like this morning, I felt like I’m watching myself be here, doing this and it’s just unreal to me.”

Brave servicemen and women stood at attention with sights set on the mission ahead: protecting the country they love.

“There’s heartache,” said Burnside. “There’s heartache, there’s angst and worry but there’s also confidence in the abilities of every single man and woman leaving today.”

So with one more handshake, a few more pictures and a final snuggle from little ones, it’s a farewell for now.

The soldiers will return between nine and 15 months from Friday.

Loved ones said they’re already counting down the days to their return.

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