Vermont National Guard Leave To Prepare For Deployment Abroad
Members of the Vermont Army National Guard left Thursday morning to prepare for their upcoming overseas deployment.
Friends, family and fellow guard members filled the hangar at the guard facility in South Burlington to see members of Charlie Company off.
After watching the departure ceremony, people gathered at the hangar doors to watch guard members take off in six Blackhawk helicopters.
More than 60 soldiers will serve in this deployment.
A spokesperson for the guard said not all of the members of Charlie Company left Thursday and the some will leave the state on Saturday.
During their deployment, the group will be acting as a medical evacuation company in the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
Before heading overseas, Charlie Company will be in Texas training with guard units from other states.
Maj. Jamie Lewandowski, the commander of Charlie Company, said the company has already “saved almost 1,500 live in the global war on terrorism."
“And we stand before you today ready to carry on that tradition," he said. "Families, friends — hold the line until we get back — because today we don’t say 'goodbye,' we say 'see you later.'"
Sergeant Joshua Corkins, a member of Charlie Company, said this was his second deployment.
“It's hard leaving families," said Corkins. "As far as deploying with everyone here, we’ve been training for this for a long time and we are … 110 percent prepared."
Representatives for all three members of Vermont’s congressional delegation attended the ceremony, along with Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and Gov. Phil Scott.
During the ceremony, Scott thanked the members of Charlie Company for their service.
“So hear me and trust when I say, we are fully committed to ensuring that in your absence your families, your wives, husbands, children moms and dads will have the full support of the state of Vermont," said Scott. "We’ve got your back on this one, it’s the least we could do."
Deployments typically last a year. In early 2010, the Vermont National Guard was deployed overseas to Afghanistan. They returned at the end of 2010.