SALT LAKE CITY — Natasha and Jeremy Cope have been married for a year and a half, but that's not what makes them special. What makes them special is that Friday night the two deployed together to Iraq. Both are in the Army Reserves, serving at the Utah National Guard Base, and both boarded the Delta plane carrying hundreds of fellow soldiers.

"We've been telling people that it's cool that we get to go together," Jeremy Cope said, "because when we leave, we don't have to worry about what's going on at home, but it's going to be stressful knowing that she's going to face whatever I'm facing. And when I'm in danger, she's in danger."

Friday's last hours before the 141st Military Intelligence Unit boarded the flight were filled with tearful goodbyes, with friends and families hugging loved ones in uniform as they spent their final moments together for at least six months. In a military hangar built to house bombers, hundreds of families stood in groups listening to speakers, including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert.

Roland Amendola, a major who deployed with the company, has been on three deployments, but none before in Iraq.

"It makes them realize there's a huge support network behind them all," Amendola said of the large supportive turnout. "To the highest levels in the National Guard and our civilian leadership here in the state, they care about us, and they take the time to come out here and be with us."

The Copes met in the reserves at a language school and now both serve with military intelligence. The two have been told that most of their time in Iraq will be spent together.

But for every story of happy couples and excited soldiers, there were 100 telling less happy stories.

Some soldiers held new babies. Others put their arms around their mothers. Pfc. Kayden Peterson said his goodbyes to his fiancee, Samantha, as he prepared for his first deployment. The couple has been dating for two years, but the deployment prompted a big step in their future. In January, Peterson popped the question. They'll wait until he returns for the next big event.

"This is pretty crazy, he said, "… a lot of different emotions."

He was quiet and brief but smiling as he held his fiancee. Those final moments on the tarmac were spent with family. His teary-eyed mom gave him a hug and his fiancee stayed by his side until the last goodbye before he boarded the plane headed to Iraq.

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