60 Utah National Guard Troops Deploy to Afghanistan
CAMP WILLIAMS, Utah – Dozens of Utah soldiers are shipping out. Their destination: Afghanistan.
Nearly 60 Utah National Guard members and their families were honored during a departure ceremony on Sunday at Camp Williams.
The soldiers are from the 4th Infantry Division Main Command Post Operational Detachment.
Their mission will be to give support and training to Afghanistan’s army and police and help them provide security inside their own country.
“This mission is significant,” said Lt. Col. Talon Greeff. “It goes all the way back to the beginning of the war on terror and making sure Afghanistan can’t be used as a platform to attack us in the United States.”
The event was a celebration for the troops and a day for their families to say goodbye.
For Capt. Robin Cox and Sgt. Jonathan Nielson, it’s their first time being deployed and the first time leaving their young families for a long time.
“I’ve experienced it on the other side, on the home front, and this is my first time for me deploying,” said Capt. Cox.
“This morning I cried and I’m not a crier,” said Sgt. Nielson.
Bailey Nielson looked proudly at her husband as she held the couple’s 1-year-old daughter.
“He is always the one that just volunteers for everything,” she said. “He has wanted to do this his entire life.”
While the soldiers are apprehensive about leaving loved ones behind, there is a part of them looking forward to their mission.
“I’m sad to leave my family but excited for the experience,” said Capt. Cox.
“I’m really excited,” said Sgt. Nielson. “I’ve been in the military for over a decade and this is my first chance to really use my skills in an operational setting.”
Their families, while making a great sacrifice, also support the reason behind it.
“It’s worth it because I know that he is serving our country and he’s doing something greater than anything else,” said Bailey Nielson.
The soldiers depart Monday morning for Colorado where they will be training. From there, they will be sent to Afghanistan.
The troops will be deployed for about 10 months.
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