MENOMONIE (WQOW) — Thousands of friends and family sent about 400 Wisconsin Army National Guard soldiers from the Red Arrow Infantry Brigade on its way to Afghanistan.
The men and women are part of a security force brigade overseas, providing advisers to the Afghan Army, a crucial part in eventually getting the United States military out of Afghanistan.
Executive Officer of the battalion Michael Olson said this will be a unique experience not only for new soldiers, but for all of the men and women leaving to serve our nation.
“It’s something that comes along only a couple times in your career. These soldiers don’t know it, but it’s going to be pretty special for them. They’ll never have another deployment like this again,” Olson said.
For the majority of these service members, it’s also their first deployment, an experience most of them have been looking forward to for a long time.
“I’m sure there will be nerves, it kind of hasn’t kicked in yet. I’m pretty excited though. I’d draw pictures of Army men, ever since I was little I’ve always wanted to serve,” said Taylor Koenig, National Guard Specialist.
Governor Tony Evers also helped send off the troops by delivering a message of pride and warm wishes.
“They know they’re getting the best of the best when they call the Wisconsin National Guard,” Evers said.
As the soldiers prepare for the deployment of a lifetime, their loved ones are proud to watch them go, knowing that the country’s safety is in good hands.
“On behalf of our whole family, Eric, and all the guys, we love you so much. Godspeed,” said Thomas Moe, a father of one of the soldiers.
The Red Arrow Brigade is heading off to Texas this July. From there, they will deploy to Afghanistan in the fall, planning to return next summer.