Members of the Louisiana Air National Guard's 159th Fighter Wing are on their way to Southwest Asia.
"No American has been killed by an enemy attack from the air since 15 April, 1953. Our primary job is to keep that 59-year streak going," Lt. Col. Jim Worley told the crowd.
Hundreds gathered at the Belle Chasse Naval Air Station today to say goodbye to their loved ones.
Governor Bobby Jindal spoke at the deployment ceremony, recognizing a married couple leaving their three children behind.
"We love what we do," explained Ashley Martell. "Also we want to set a good example for the kids growing up," her husband Michael added. "We want to show them that it's always good to put service before self."
About 250 men and women are embarking on the mission to support overseas contingency operations.