Moses Sanchez and his family knew there was always a chance that he could get deployed by the U.S. Navy. As a reservist, that's in the job description.
But when it actually happened to the Ahwatukee Foothills resident, it still came as a shock.
"You always sense it could happen," said Sanchez, who is president of the Ahwatukee Kiwanis Club and an economics professor. He will spend part of his 400-day deployment in Bagram, Afghanistan. His focus will be detainee operations.
Sanchez's friends and family hosted a going away party for him last Thursday night at Ahwatukee Foothills' Cupz N' Crepes. As the party heated up, the shop became packed with people who came to say goodbye to Sanchez.
Not only that, they also came to wish him happy birthday.
"I turned 34 today," he said. "Right now, I'm looking at it as a birthday party."
Sanchez's wife, Dr. Maria Manriquez-Sanchez, and their two children, Shannon and Liam, were in attendance.
In previous duties, Sanchez has been stationed in South America and the Caribbean, where he worked in counter-narcotics. This will be his first time in the Middle East and he said one way he is looking at the trip is an opportunity to see the different cultures of the world.
"I think that's how I'm selling myself on this," he said.
Sanchez was on active duty from 1995 to 1998. When he got out he started his college career and lived with his wife in Northern California. The couple moved to Ahwatukee Foothills in 2004.
"I'll always have a home in Ahwatukee," he said.
Sanchez said he is a career man and plans on being with the Navy for at least 20 years.
"I'm in this for the long haul," he said.
Sanchez has set up a blog, "Moses Marching," for people to track his progress with updates, movies and pictures. You can follow him at www.TakeaStandAz.com.
"It's a way for people to follow me," Sanchez said. "I'm calling it a journey, an adventure."