MEDFORD, Ore. -- 21-year-old Patricia Jones is one of the Oregon National Guard soldiers headed to Djibouti. Her family threw her a going away party Tuesday night to wish her well and pray for her safe return in three months.
Jones has only been in the military for about two years now.
Djibouti will be her first deployment. The Navy already has a presence in the small African country. Oregon soldiers will be securing that base. They'll also be helping to bring stability to Djibouti and partner with different countries in the region to increase security.
While Jones' family is worried and nervous for her, she is embracing her first tour and looking at it positively.
"I'm nervous but just excited to be in a new place with new people. It's a different culture. I'll be able to hopefully travel while I'm over there too and see new things," Jones said. "I'm excited to have the military be my full-time job."
Jones' house was full of family and friends. Members of her unit also went to the party, including Thomas Johnson. Not only will this also be his first deployment, this will be the very first time he's left the country.
"I'm feeling a little nervous just because I've never been out of the country but at the same time I'm really excited to experience something new and basically just the challenges to come forward. I'm definitely going to him them head on and get through it," Johnson said.
Oregon soldiers expect to be in Djibouti by the end of the year. The deployment ceremony is Sunday, October 13th at Southern Oregon University.