Florida National Guard's 100th Deployment Ceremony Since September 11
STARKE - One hundred and counting. The Florida National Guard held its 100th deployment ceremony Thursday. More than 50 soldiers-- many from North Central Florida, will soon be deployed to southwest asia.
The 100th deployment comes at a time when the state's national guard is making cutbacks due to the sequestration. However the members being deployed won't be affected by the furloughs.
The Florida National Guard has deployed more than 17 thousand men and women since September 11. And now 50 more soldiers based out of Camp Blanding will begin their journey. While some in the battalion have deployed multiple times, for others this is their first. And deployment they tell me, is a two-way street for both the soldiers and their families.
The battalion's deployment began with a warm welcome and ended with a hopeful prayer. Families and friends gathered around their soldiers in order to bid them farewell. Chris Crews a specialist on the battalion, whose been deployed in the past says... For those going over seas for their first time, all they need is a goal. "Well with the family it's kind of tough because I am not on that side... For the soldiers I do know that you get over there keep your head down, get on a routine and keep your eyes straight ahead looking forward to the goal which is coming back," Crews said.
These soldiers will provide airfield work in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, in locations like Afghanistan. The soldiers however, aren't embarking on their mission just yet. They will first travel to texas for additional training. Before heading overseas to Southwest Asia. This battalion is expected to return home next April.
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