Dozens of San Angelo families are faced with an empty chair at the dinner table as 25 troop members of Texas Army National Guard left San Angelo Monday morning. These soldiers from the 131st Artillery Division's 2nd Battalion "C" Company left their families monday, heading to Austin and will later leave to Fort Bliss before beginning their tour in Iraq. “President says we got to go, we got to go, it’s a part of our duty,” deployed Soldier Gulliermo Gaitan from Paint Rock says. It’s a call of duty with a tough goodbye. “I love you, I love you, I love you, and I love you never ending,” Michelle Mendez says about her fiancé and her soldier Joshua Torres. Parents, wives, children and friends met Monday to send their best to these 25 troops of the TX Army National Guard, 131st Artillery Division’s 2nd Battalion “C” Company of San Angelo, who left to Austin. And will be deployed to El Paso at Fort Bliss on June 10th for 2 months of training and then off to their assignment. Gaitan describes, “We’re going to be in Iraq, hopefully it’s going to be safe and we’ll all come back, we’re going to be good. It’s a duty to the country. I started up at the Marine Corps and now I’m in the Guard and its something I’ve trained for all of my life and just got to get the job.” A job that will leave this battalion away from their families for a year or more. An extensive time for Mendez and her first separation from her soldier. “Yesterday was a very important day for me, he asked me to marry him so we got engaged yesterday,” Mendez says. Although Mendez must wait until next year for her wedding, she along with the other San Angelo families will keep strong until their return. “It’s really dangerous where he’s going to, he’s suppose to not be going to be in a real dangerous spot, but you never know what’s going to happen. Everywhere, people get hurt all the time. You have to have that faith,” Mendez says.