INDIANAPOLIS—A departure ceremony was held for approximately 60 Indiana National Guard soldiers deploying to Afghanistan, Saturday, Jan. 14, at the 38th Infantry Division Armory.
The 38th Infantry Division soldiers will be training, advising and assisting Afghan security forces in two provinces. The deploying soldiers are comprised of senior commissioned and noncommissioned officers.
“This is an important mission because making sure the Afghan armed forces are capable of securing their country and their borders increases the security of the United States,” said Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard.
Of the soldiers deploying, only seven have not deployed before with many having two and three deployments.
“This is perhaps the senior most group that have deployed from Indiana,” said Carr. “This is not an ordinary deployment; this a team of well-experienced soldiers that are getting ready for this mission. These soldiers are experts in their areas.”
The train, advise and assist teams will complete their training at Fort Polk, Louisiana. The soldiers were notified of the mobilization in August and began preparations at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
“This is a special group of experienced officers and noncommissioned officers with the opportunity, probably the final opportunity for many of us, to practice our craft one more time at the highest level,” said Lt. Col. Michael Grundman, commander of one of the two teams.
The deployment will continue to build on previous missions to train and aid in what is still a fledgling country as it secures its future, said Grundman.
This is the first deployment of Indiana National Guard soldiers under the administration of newly-elected Gov. Eric Holcomb, and he praised the Hoosier Guardsmen heading overseas.
"Janet and I are proud of the brave Hoosier men and women in the Indiana National Guard, and these soldiers and their families will remain in our thoughts and prayers as they mobilize for federal service in Afghanistan," said Holcomb.
The 38th Infantry Division has also deployed soldiers to Kosovo and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba within the last six months.