She fought back tears, hoping for the best as she watched him spend the last few minutes with his family.
"I'm very worried about him," she said. "I'm worried about his wife and his two little ones."
Sgt. Nicholes Sample's daughter Abigail is turning two in just a few weeks.
"I'll miss her growing up," he said.
He lovingly tossed her around before getting on the flight.
This is Sgt. Sample's first deployment so he's been on the receiving end of a lot of advice from fellow airmen who've been there before.
"Just keep your head up that," he said. "It'll be over soon."
The airmen are leaving for Afghanistan to give support to the troops already there through flying missions.
The National Guard estimates they'll lend that support to around 250 soldiers.
"Just hoping everything goes well," he said.
Families lined the runway to wave to their soldiers leading up to the very last second.
It'll be about a year before they're able to see them again.