WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. (WTNH) — About 70 Connecticut National Guard soldiers deployed to the Middle East to support the United States’ ongoing military actions against ISIS.
State officials shared words of praise at the ceremony held at the Connecticut Army National Guard Aviation Support Facility and Readiness Center in Windsor Locks.
“When President Kennedy said many years ago, ‘not what can your country do for you, but what you can do for your country,’ I think he was thinking about each and every one of you,” Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) said.
“When you call out the National Guard, you call out America,” U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) said. “When you call out the Connecticut National Guard, you call out the best in America. The best trained, the best equipped, the most dedicated of any of our National Guard, and I am so proud.”
The two units — Charlie Company 3-142nd Aviation Regiment (Assault) and Charlie Company 3-126th Aviation Regiment (MEDEVAC) — will stop in Texas for additional training before traveling overseas to support Operation Inherent Resolve in the Middle East.
This is the second deployment for Capt. Chip Staats, the detachment commander for Charlie Company 3-126th Aviation Regiment.
“All service members, regardless of branch or rank, they’re all doing it for the same reasons and the right reasons,” Staats said.
Families gathered inside the facility, preparing to say final goodbyes before their loved ones took flight. This deployment will last close to a year. Staats will be missing a big life moment while serving his country.
“Well, it’s certainly tough,” he said. “I have a pregnant wife. We’re expecting our first, so that’s difficult, and there are at least two or three others in our formation that will be away for that critical period of time.”
The ceremony and embraces remind Connecticut just how much is sacrificed every day by these men and women.