More than 100 Tennessee National Guard Soldiers Set to Deploy Fr - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

More than 100 Tennessee National Guard Soldiers Set to Deploy Friday

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CLEVELAND, TN- (WRCB) More than 28,000 thousand Tennessee Army National Guardsmen have deployed since September 11, 2001.

In the city of Cleveland more than 100 Tennessee National Guard soldiers from the 252nd Military Police company are preparing to leave Friday. First they'll head to New Jersey for training and then Kuwait.

"It's kind of bittersweet obviously leaving family members is never easy but the 29th we're going to have a send off here,.have a breakfast for families and the soldiers," said Captain Chris Martinson.

Martinson says the unit has been training to support Operation Enduring Freedom for more than a year.

"We are going to be relieving a battalion... a Marine Core Unit, they have the same amount of  Marines as we do soldiers so we'll be relieving them," said Martinson.

The soldiers will be gone for about a year. Martinson says in this unit, roughly half of the soldiers leaving have never been deployed.

"I'm proud every time I look at the soldiers and see how well they're doing I'm just so proud of what they have been able to accomplish," said Martinson.

Over the past few weeks National Guard Family Readiness Groups have been working to prepare the soldiers' families. 

"I'll be 60 in October and this will be my 3rd deployment.  My first was Desert Storm, I went to Iraq in 2010 and I'll end my career on this one here. I have been for the last couple of weeks telling them Pop Pop is going away to do some work for the Army and they know when I'm in uniform what I'm doing. Again they don't have the concept of how long I'll be gone when I'm coming back and I tell them I will but it will be a little longer," said SSGT Don King. "It's going to be hard for them to grasp that."

Email, phone and social media will make the distance feel shorter.

"Just keep in touch with them because it means a lot seeing somebody still cares," said Dylan Hill, U.S. Army.

Anyone wishing to participate in the farewell can join with family and friends at the Cleveland National Guard Armory off of Dalton Pike, Friday. Members of the unit say they will leave Tennessee around 9 a.m. and first depart for a one month training at a base in New Jersey.  For information on how you can receive help through the Family Readiness Group, call 423-478-0344

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