A Dozen Nevada Army Guard Soldiers Getting Proper Sendoff Before - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

A Dozen Nevada Army Guard Soldiers Getting Proper Sendoff Before Deployment

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A dozen local soldiers are preparing to deploy overseas after a proper sendoff Wednesday in the Stead area.

The Nevada Army Guard's Detachment 45, Operational Support Airlift will be going to Afghanistan for a unique mission. Their family and friends gathered inside a hangar on Army Aviation Drive to honor their continued military service.

This unit include 12 Army Guard soldiers, and they've deployed several times since 2001. Their most recent was to southwest Asia back in 2010. This time around, they'll be based out of Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan.

"We've got six pilots, and we've got six aerial sensor operators from the state of Nevada that will actually be linking up in Fort Bliss, Texas with the rest of the units," said Staff Sgt. Luther Thompson. "We've got people coming up from three other states that will actually be deploying with us as well."

Officials say they will use a King Air 300 aircraft modified for military use. They'll be gathering intelligence, provide combat support and survey the area for their crews on the ground.

"We'll be overhead, watching and communicating with them, and letting them know if we're able to see anything, or if we see hazards," said CW5 Glen Spadin.

They've spent the last several months training here in the area. 

"Now, we transition where we can get into theater and start going into the mission that we were trained to do," CW5 Spadin said.

While these servicemembers are anxious to complete the mission, they also can't wait to return to see their families.

"That's going to be really hard, especially for me," CW5 Spadin said. "I got a bunch of kids, and I really enjoy them. It'll be tough to do that, but they understand."

"Thankfully, for all the technology we have now where you're texting, Skyping, doing all that kind of stuff," Staff Sgt. Thompson said. "You can at least try to stay in touch, but it's still really hard being thousands of miles away from your family."

It's also hard for CW2 Justin Strachan's family. This is going to be his third deployment.

"It's real hard," said his mother, Andrea. "I'm going to start crying right now, but he's a pilot now. He was on the ground, the first time. He went and then flew a Chinook, last time. Now, he's a pilot. So, hopefully, he'll come back safe... I'm staying here at his house to help with his kids."

Officials say they unit is expected to be deployed in Afghanistan through next April.
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