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Vt. Guardsmen head back to Indiana - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. Guardsmen head back to Indiana

Essex Junction, Vermont - January 1, 2010

Almost 400 Vermont Army National Guard members are on their way back to the Midwest for more training before they head to their deployment in Afghanistan.

The soldiers gathered with their families at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds as nine buses were loaded for a seventeen-hour ride to Indiana. The buses brought them back for the holidays and now it was time to say goodbye again. This was the second time these soldiers have said goodbye and for many families it was tough to do it again.

Lt. Col. Tim Murphy, who commands the 1/172nd Cavalry Battalion out of Saint Albans, joked, "Yeah, this one's for real, the last one was kind of practice."

PFC Charles Daoust said, "Actually, the second time around is better. The first time was hard."

PFC Joshua Cobb said, "It's hard to have to come back, you know, and say goodbye again. But I think that definitely is worth it for the families."

Jack Winner, whose son is deploying, acknowledged an atmosphere of doubt. "Well, it's mixed emotions. It's a new year and we hope that peace will eventually come and the men are going to do a good job."

The Vermonters will help bring security to Afghanistan. Because of changes in the mission they are due for an extra round of training that was added at the last minute -- back where they started, at Fort Polk in Louisiana. Then they head for the war in February and March. They're due home next December.

Andy Potter - WCAX News

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