Soldiers in National Guard prepare for deployment

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (KSNB) - The families of 50 members of the National Guard gathered to bid their farewells before they are sent on a mission overseas.

Governor Pete Ricketts attended and spoke about how hard the Nebraska National Guard has changed over the years.

“20-25 years ago people joined the Nebraska national guard and didn't really expect to get deployed,” Ricketts said. “Today our young men and women join the Guard, they not only know they are going to get deployed, they want to be deployed. They want to take the fight to the enemy, they know it's a dangerous world and they want to go out and protect our freedoms and that's why we are so proud of these men and women.”

The speakers also talked about how hard it is for the families who are left behind. One is leaving a three-week-old daughter at home.

“It is difficult leaving her being so young but it doesn't matter if they're three weeks or 13 years it's hard to leave your family,” Bravo Company 2-135th Commander Brad Larson said.

The men and women are being deployed to Afghanistan for nine months as part of Operation Freedom Sentinel. The Chinook helicopter unit will help provide supplies and equipment to other troops.

For many of the soldiers, this is their third or fourth time being deployed overseas.