Vt. Guard to Deploy 1,500 to Afghanistan - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Guard to Deploy 1,500 to Afghanistan

Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie
Col. Will Roy Col. Will Roy
Spc. Jeffrey Deslauriers Spc. Jeffrey Deslauriers

Colchester, Vermont - July 2, 2009

"Last week the Secretary of Defense signed the order mobilizing the 86th Infantry Brigade Combat Team for service in Afghanistan," Maj. Gen. Michael Dubie said.

The Adjutant General confirmed that 1,500 Vermont guard soldiers will train in this country first, then deploy to Afghanistan next February. They should be home by the end of 2010.

This will be the largest deployment of Vermont guard troops since World War II.

"I'm here to report that Vermont will do its full duty," Dubie said, quoting a line delivered by a Vermont Governor when Abraham Lincoln called up troops for the Civil War.

This deployment was no surprise. For more than a year the guard has been training at the Jericho range for the Afghanistan deployment awaiting the order to go.

The troops will be part of the 10,000 troop Task Force Phoenix headquartered in Kabul. They will be embedded as trainers with Afghan police and army units.

General Dubie says the troops and their families know it will be dangerous-- but they are prepared.

"We'll get the job done," Dubie said. "And make no mistake about it, we've got the finest men and women serving today in the Vermont National Guard that we've ever had. They will go to Afghanistan and they will make us proud and they will come home."

Vermont Guard Colonel Will Roy will be the commander of the entire Phoenix operation.

"This is a mission of great importance to us and something our soldiers can really sink their teeth into because it is so important," Roy said.

That attitude was reflected by Specialist Jeffrey Deslauriers who has just been named Guardsman of the Year.

"I'm not comfortable knowing there are people on this planet that want to kill us. I haven't done anything to them and I'm not comfortable sitting and just taking that," Deslauriers said. "Of course I'm worried but I can't dwell on the worry 'cause I'll go crazy."

Those sentiments were shared by a number of people at the General's press conference.

General Dubie said there should be no concern that this call-up depletes our guard forces in case of problems here at home. He said there will still be 2,100 guard members here at home to help in cases of natural disasters like flooding and road repair.

Brian Joyce - WCAX News

Related Story:

Call-Up Coming for Vt. National Guard

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