It was standing-room only Wednesday afternoon at the Natrona County High School auditorium as people from across Wyoming gathered to send off friends and family who are heading to the Middle East.

The Wyoming Army National Guard announced in a press release last month that 130 soldiers from the 2nd Battalion of the 300th Field Artillery will deploy to the region.

Soldiers are expected to fly to Fort Bliss in Texas on Thursday before heading overseas.

They will be under U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates.

Governor Mark Gordon spoke at the event and noted that deploying soldiers come from all corners of Wyoming.

"Look around this room. Look at the feeling of support and patriotism that we have in this room," Gordon said. "That is what America is about. That is what Wyoming is about."

Soldiers exchanged hugs and handshakes with their loved ones before slowly filtering out of the building. Outside, families posed for pictures. An honor guard, holding U.S. flags, stood at attention in a cold, windy rain.

The unit is expected to return home this winter.

Before the ceremony ended, Gordon had one last message for the deploying troops:

"Powder River — Let 'er Buck."