LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Saturday was an emotional day for hundreds of service members and their families as the soldiers prepared for their latest deployment.

The ceremony, held at March Air Reserve Base, gave loved ones a chance to say a final farewell the the 200 local soldiers deploying to the Middle East.

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“This farewell ceremony is primarily for the families to say goodbye to their loved ones as we go off and deploy in preparation to do our mission,” one service member said.

And while passing the time without a loved one is never easy, soldiers said being able to stay in touch helped them stay strong.

“Hopefully lots of letters,” one said. “Skyping, we can probably Skype.”

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But through the tears and uncertainty, the pride from the families was clear.

“I am very proud of my dad,” one girl said. “It’s very hard to leave the country for nine months and then have to come back.”

The soldiers are scheduled to return in October or November of this year.

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“We’re hoping he’ll be back safe,” another person said. “And we love him.”