By Alex DeMetrick

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. (WJZ)– Not long after the 9/11 attacks, members of Maryland’s National Guard were deployed to Iraq. Ten years later, they’re being sent to Iraq again.

Alex DeMetrick was at Aberdeen Proving Grounds for the goodbyes.

As 124 Maryland National Guardsmen scrambled to get into formation, it was with the knowledge they are leaving their civilian lives and families for the next year.

For some, it’s a first deployment.

“Just anxious, I guess, about what’s going to happen,” said PFC. Sarah Bush of the Maryland National Guard. “Trying new things. Going to miss my family. Going to miss my boy.”

For those who have done it more than once, it is still a hard day.

For Thaddeus and Joyce Harrington, this should be a honeymoon. They were married Monday.

“I’m going to try not to act like a spolied brat and be an adult,” Joyce Harrington said. “After a point, we all need to grow up, so this is my day to grow up.”

This mission will support American troops as they withdraw from Iraq.

“It’s a command and control unit for all the aviation assets in Iraq,” said Maj. Gen. James Adkins, Adjunct General of Maryland. “Maryland will have the responsibility for all aviation management in Iraq.”

This guard unit will be part of a 2,000-man unit deploying from a dozen states.

“I’m excited to go over there and do our mission and help the Iraqi people,” Keith Maynard of the Maryland National Guard said. “At the same time, a little, not upset, but it’s hard leaving your loved ones.”

“Very proud, and look forward to coming back safely,” Keith Maynard’s wife, June Maynard, said.

But at a moment like this, coming back can feel a long way off for soldiers and families who make a committment like this together, knowing it may some day break them apart.

The Maryland Guard unit will first travel to Fort Hood, Texas to finalize training before moving on to Iraq.

Comments (9)
  1. Donna says:

    My son was one of the soldiers that was deployed today. I am so very proud of him and I will miss him so much but I know that he is there to help make this country a safer place to live.

    1. Jennifer Ann Harris Cilento says:

      send him lots of goodies! they don’t get much fun stuff over there, and the guys and gals are always so grateful for quality coffee, books and magazines, and treats. you can send him cookies too! i make chocolate chip cookies for my soldier. you take two cookies, wrap them tightly in saran wrap back to back, and place them in a box of packing peanuts. when they are wrapped like that, they are still fresh when they get there! i hope you son stays safe, and keeps his chin up. don’t worry, the year will go very fast.

    2. Tom says:

      Praying for him to come home from that hellish nightmare safe and sound…

  2. Jennifer Ann Harris Cilento says:

    my husband is active duty army and we appreciate the Guardsman so much. they all step up and help out when the Army needs some extra sets of hands. Hooah MDANG!

  3. Jim Bruce says:

    Good luck to the troops being deployed from Md ANG. My son deployed there in February with his Md ANG group- 1729th FMS and should return around Christmas. Good luck again to the troops as well as the families they leave behind.

  4. Dianna Herron Snyder says:

    May god watch over and keep safe all the depoloyed soldiers. My daughter is over in Iraq right now and will be back in December. They usually get R&R time. The time will fly by. Stay safe and my prayers are with all the soldiers and families.

  5. Susan Gardner-Seitz says:

    My brother was one of those 124 members of the Maryland National Guard that was deployed. It is very hard for me to say goodbye to him, as I have known him my whole life. Not knowing what will happen…hoping for the best obviously. But I also know that we live in the greatest place on earth that there is to live…the USA. And if it wasn’t for the ANG and other branches of the military that deploy we wouldn’t have this great country to live in. God bless him and all the others. Please God watch over them and bring them home safe.

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