Louisiana National Guard soldier deploys for the first time

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POSTED: Friday, September 20, 2013 - 6:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, October 20, 2013 - 1:16pm

For the men and women who heed the call to serve our country, they know this day will come. Family and friends waved farewell to the soldiers of the Louisiana National Guard's 927th Engineer Company and 769th Engineer Battalion Friday. One young soldier is headed overseas for the first time.

Darren Dufour is 22 years old and has served our country for the past four years. It's his first deployment, and despite his age, even his mother has very few reservations about her son answering the call to serve our country.

"I may be nervous later, but not right now. I'm proud that he's going to take the fight over there before they bring the fight to us," Donna Dufour said.

Donna Dufour's son Darren has been preparing for this day for years. Now he's saying farewell to his family, and hello to one of his many duties as a National Guardsman and the grandson of another soldier who served.

"I'm just proud. It's one of those things that you sit there and you grow up watching soldiers. My grandfather was a soldier, so I always grew up with that mentality. I think that's something to be proud of," Darren said. "I'm not really sure exactly what to expect. They say it's a changing environment at all times, so you have to keep your mind open to what can happen and will happen."

Darren and more than 90 of his fellow soldiers are saying goodbye to their families. Donna said she'll miss her son, but she's proud of his decision to follow in such an honorable family tradition.

"My dad's retired. He was 17, and he wanted sign up in the 11th grade, and I wouldn't do it. I said when you turn 18 you can make that decision," Darren said. "He turned 18, and he didn't do it. My father passed away in January, then in February, he signed up."

Darren and his unit are off to training. Then, they'll be deployed to Afghanistan. It'll be a year before any of them come home.

"I love him, and I want him to come back home to me," Donna said.

"I'm really excited to go," Darren said. "I'm ready to go and come back with all my guys all in one piece."

We wish Darren and all of his fellow Guardsmen the very best, and thank them for their service.

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