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Aviation Unit of CT National Guard deploying to Southwest Asia


WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — The Aviation Unit in the Connecticut Army National Guard left for deployment to Southwest Asia Thursday morning, in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.

Members of the National Guard know it’s not easy to say goodbye to loved ones, and being deployed to a dangerous place thousands of miles from home does not make it easier.

The military asked News 8 not to interview the soldiers or their families, but you can look at their faces, and watch those hugs, and you don’t need words to tell how much they will miss each other.

Then comes time for that long walk out to the tarmac. This is the 104th Aviation Regiment. They fly and maintain the big chinook helicopters.

These powerful machines can fly higher than just about any other helicopters the US military has. That’s crucial in mountainous places like Afghanistan, where this unit flew missions as high as 16,000 feet.

Yes, the 104th has made this trip before, back in 2013, so some of these men and women know how this works. From Bradley Airport, they fly to Fort Hood, Texas for several months of training, and then they spend about a year deployed in the mountains of Asia.

The little kids left behind will do a lot of growing in that time. Grown-ups will do a lot of worrying, but that is what can happen when you sign up for the National Guard.

Air National Guard Captain Jennifer Pierce told News 8, “The National Guard’s motto is ‘Always ready, always there.’ So year-round we are training to maintain our home station readiness, so we stay operational to meet the increasing global demands on our units.”

After all that training at Fort Hood, some of those helicopters will be disassembled and shipped on planes and actually flown over to Asia to work in those high altitudes.

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