WEST BEND — More than two dozen members of the Wisconsin National Guard will be joining the United States Army in the Middle East. That mission starts Sunday, October 1st — but first, soldiers along with their families attended a send-off ceremony in West Bend.
During an afternoon of photos, hugs and some tears, hundreds of family members and friends gathered to say goodbye and good luck to the 248th Aviation Support Battalion.
“I’m nervous but at the same time, this is why I enlisted,” said Jordan Stremke.
Private Class Jordan Stremke, will be embarking on his first deployment. The 25-year-old joined the Wisconsin National Guard one year ago in honor of his baby sister.
“Without her, I wouldn’t have enlisted. I wanted to be something more for her,” said Stremke.
Now, it’s his family once again that will help Stremke get through his time overseas.
“We support him 100 percent. As hard as it is as parents, we’re very proud of him,” said Stremke’s mother.
During Saturday’s send off ceremony in West Bend, Governor Scott Walker thanking the 26 men and women for stepping up to serve.
“We live in the home of the free because of the brave,” Gov. Walker said.
The unit will spend approximately nine months in Iraq and Kuwait, performing maintenance on aircrafts for the U.S. Army.
“We do everything from pull engines to fix transmissions to work in airframes. We do avionics, we patch bullet holes,” said Captain Jared LeFaivre.
While the troops won’t be in combat, they will have to battle extreme heat. Just ask Sergeant Mike Morgan. He’s serving his fifth and final mission with the National Guard.
“My last deployment for sure,” said Morgan.
As the most veteran among the group, Morgan reminds his fellow soldiers the sacrifice is always worth it with support like this.
“If you need to talk to anybody at any time, communication with home can happen at any time,” said Morgan.
The unit leaves Sunday for Fort Hood for 60 days of training. There, they’ll meet up with fellow soldiers from across the country who are joining in the same mission before going to the Middle East together.