To read more about the members of this unit, and how life on the homefront has changed, click here.
While other soldiers tearfully held onto young children before deploying to Afghanistan, Eliece Soebbing happily sat on the floor in her fatigues watching her 1-year-old daughter crawl and laugh. "I'm in total denial," Eliece admits.
Even though she knew that within hours she would be leaving her daughter for 13 months, Eliece chose to focus on the positive. She knows she'll miss some important moments as a mom, but she's glad she was there to see her baby's first tooth and her first tentative steps.
And Eliece keeps reminding herself that the separation will be much harder on mom than on baby-Madelyn won't even remember the deployment when she is older.
Eliece's mom, Monica, says her daughter struggled when she first found out she would be deployed.
"She asked if she was being selfish for being excited about the deployment and leaving the responsibility of child care to her husband and parents," Monica says. "We told her that she's not the one being selfish, that military members like her who are willing to make this sacrifice for the rest of us make what we do at home to help them out peanuts."
Eliece's family draws comfort from knowing that the medical unit she deployed with is filled with good, compassionate soldiers.
"They support each other and you can tell they care about each other," Monica says. "They'll bring each other home."
Liz DeCarlo is the senior editor at Chicago Parent.
See more of Liz's stories here.