100 Deployments From The Florida National Guard Since 9-11
STARKE - The sequester in washington d-c is forcing across the board cuts for the florida national guard... However those cuts wont affect the 100th battalion being deployed since September 11. More than 50 soldiers, many from North Central Florida are headed overseas to southwest asia. Deployment, is a two-way street for both the soldiers and their families.
Families take pictures with their loved ones. And hug them a little tighter as more than 50 soldiers from the battalion based out of camp blanding say goodbye to their family and friends. This is the 100th federal deployment ceremony for the Florida National Guard since September 11, 2001. More than 17,000 man and women have been deployed since then.
The Delalla family is proud to say they come from a long line of soldiers. Andrew Delalla said, "It's a great experience. It's great to know because my entire family served... Her family has served and now our family together is serving." For his son it's a legacy he hopes to continue. "I think it's great to have both my parents enlisting because it's an incentive to continue on the legacy and enlist as well," Chris Delalla.
Chris Crews a specialist on the 2nd Battalion 111th Aviation Regiment, says he's wanted to serve his country since the age of 12. "All and all... I am proud of what i do. And i do make the sacrifices of my family but I know that I am doing it for the right reasons," Crews said.
However he says leaving a 4-year old and a baby behind for a 2nd time doesn't get any easier And for crews' father it's just as difficult. "I don't try to show my emotions as much... I try to be strong for jennifer and for the kids but it's just as hard... But the fact that he is serving our country and doing what he wants to do... We are very proud of him for that," Tad Crews.
The soldiers aren't embarking on their mission just yet. They will first travel to texas for additional training, before heading over seas to Southwest Asia. Soldiers will provide airfield work in support of operation enduring freedom, in places like Afghanistan. The battalion's commander, Lieutenant Colonel William Bradley said family support is very much needed when away from home. "Soldiers still like getting mail over seas too.. So physical mail or a package getting that, is always a bug morale boost for the soldiers. So i always encourage families to continue to do that as well," Bradley said. His goal is for the whole battalion to make it back safe and sound by next year in April.
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