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WCAX News crew headed to Afghanistan - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

WCAX News crew headed to Afghanistan

Burlington, Vermont - July 28, 2010

A fashion show of the most serious nature in the WCAX office as photographer Lance MacKenzie tried on the gear that will keep him safe in his journey through Afghanistan.

Lance and anchor Darren Perron found out just a week and a half ago that the U.S. military is granting them access to the war zone.

"It hasn't really sunk in totally because we've been so busy planning and preparing for our own departure, but I'm excited. I am nervous, of course," Darren said.

Both men have been outfitted with helmets, body armor, protective goggles and gloves.

They are also bringing small gifts and candy for the Afghani men, women and children they meet along the way.

"I mean I've never been off the continent you know, so this will be an overall experience like nothing I've ever had you know, war zone aside," Lance said.

Darren and Lance will spend two weeks embedded with the Vermont National Guard. They will visit Bagram Air Base, go out on patrol, spend some time in forward operating bases and they hope to experience Afghan villages.

"I feel quite proud to be able to tell the story of the Vermont National Guard while they're deployed in Afghanistan," Lance said.

The week leading up the departure has been an emotional rollercoaster ride. Both men are excited to see our men and women in action, but nervous about the dangers ahead. Knowing they'll come back with compelling stories has kept them focused.

"I think that will be really telling for us to see the war through the eyes of our Vermont soldiers," Darren said. "What it is they're doing on a day to day basis, the dangers they face day to day."

Both Darren and Lance said a few times they know this trip is really for the family and friends of the 1,500 guard soldiers that are deployed. It's so they can see how their loved ones are doing.

We wish them luck and look forward to their safe return.

Bianca Slota - WCAX News

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