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200 more Vt. soldiers to deploy today - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

200 more Vt. soldiers to deploy today

Essex Junction, Vermont - January 8, 2010

Another 200 Vermont National Guard soldiers will leave for training today before their mission in Afghanistan. The soldiers are from the Guard's Rutland Armory. They will go to Camp Atterbury in Indiana for training before going to Afghanistan in two months.

One of the country's top military leaders will be at Friday morning's ceremony: the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Senator Patrick Leahy says he will tell Admiral Mike Mullen how a small state like Vermont struggles more than big states when its soldiers are gone from home.

Leahy says, "Don't fragment them and put them in a whole lot of different units. Keep them together under the command of Colonel Roy, and let them use that training."

Vermont's senior United States Senator continues, "But I also tell people here in Vermont, if there's a guard member in your town or neighborhood who's left, go and help the family."

Leahy says he will explain to Mullen how Vermont Guard soldiers are often key players in small communities, holding jobs as coaches or first responders. He also says he will remind Mullen how Vermont does not have the kind of infrastructure for soldiers' families they have on big military bases in large states.

Stay with Channel 3 News and WCAX.com for continuing coverage of the Vermont National Guard's mission in Afghanistan.

Jack Thurston - WCAX News

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