Members Of Md. National Guard Prepare For Afghanistan

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Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — While events commemorating the tenth anniversary of 9/11 continue, members of Maryland’s National Guard are headed for Afghanistan.

Alex DeMetrick reports the Guard’s deployments have now stretched over a decade.

The music isn’t new and neither are the goodbyes. Most of the 35 Maryland National Guard members ordered to Afghanistan have deployed before.

“It’s still tough to say goodbye but at least we know what to help this time around,” said Col. Linda Singh.

“We’re going over to help the Afghanis build their government and build them forces, get them ready to self-sustain,” said Major Jared Lake.

Military and police training is the unit’s specialty. The more Afghans carry on their own, the sooner U.S. soldiers come home.

For Maryland’s National Guard, it’s been a long 10 years since 9/11.

“You have made us proud for the last 10 years during this global war on terror. We’ve sent more members of the Maryland National Guard overseas than at any time since World War II,” said Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown.

But unlike past wars, letters aren’t the only link home.

“We have Skype and webcams and computers and he calls a lot while he’s gone,” said Teresa Sharron. “It helps. It helps big time.”

And while their commanding general said goodbye to each soldier, Guardsmen who spend most of their time as civilians with families know it’s those being left behind who are also serving.

“Being a soldier comes natural to us that have done it for so many years training, but when you add in being a husband and being a dad, it’s tough,” said Lt. Col. Dan Austin.

The Guard’s mission to Afghanistan will take them away from Maryland for the next year.

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