ABERDEEN, Md. (WJZ) — Another round of Maryland troops is heading to war.
As Gigi Barnett explains, the state is in the middle of one of the largest deployments since WWII.
The deployment ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground is where goodbye begins. In all, 77 soldiers from the 224 Assault Helicopter Battalion are heading overseas. They’re part of a growing number of Maryland National Guardsmen heading to Iraq.
“Right now, we’re going through one of the largest deployments we’ve had since World War II,” said Col. Charles Kohler.
Two weeks ago, it was a similar scene for more than 170 soldiers. All of them are sent to war with a charge to return home.
“Your most important mission is to make sure that you come home safely to these men, these women, your family and friends who are here today to wish you farewell,” Kohler said.
Hours after Saturday’s ceremony, the soldiers will be off to Iraq. Just as the National Guard had to prepare them for war, they had to do the same for their families.
“They’re not ready for me to go,” said Sgt. Melvin Markley.
Markley already has a son in Iraq. Now it’s his battalion’s turn to go. Although the family has a plan to keep in touch through Skype, they say home won’t be the same.
“War is war and I mean that’s the way God has his plan, but we just have to be strong,” Markley said.
The 224 Assault Helicopter Battalion will spend the next year in Iraq transporting supplies and troops by air.