Sunday, 13 August 2017 06:33

A Maine Army National Guard unit gears up for deployment Featured

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HAMPDEN - One Maine Army National Guard unit is gearing up to deploy to Afghanistan this coming week. Families were invited to celebrate on Friday at Hampden Academy.

It's never easy saying goodbye to loved ones, especially when they are being deployed for military services. But it's the duty that drives members of the 120th Regional Support Group, a unit in the Maine Army National Guard to do what they do.

 

"It's been several months. A big part of our training was part of our annual training a couple months back," said Megan Colleen Swanger, an engineer plans officer. 

 

For swanger this isn't her first mission. She was deployed to Iraq back in 2009. While not originally a part of the unit, she volunteered to go on this next mission to Afghanistan.

 

"We're all very excited, very well trained," she said, "Our leadership really put together some great training for us over those two weeks."

 

Over 30 soldiers are being deployed for this mission.

 

"It was really an ad hoc of soldiers that came together because of the condense time frame that we had," said Col. Byan Ouellette, the commander of the unit, "They are from all over the state. From the north to the south, including some from out of the state."

 

"My team will be in charge of all of the project managements," said Swanger, "We'll be supporting Nato operations over there."

 

While it's sad for soldiers being deployed to leave their families. It's even harder for those who are left behind.

 

"It does not get easier," said Elizabeth Thayer, Megan's mother, "She's very positive about it and gives us a sunny smile about it."

 

Especially when they are going to miss important events.

 

"She's going to be missing her brother's wedding coming up within a month," said Steve Thayer, Megan's father, "But you have to go when they call."

 

The military provide family members with services to help the cope during these times.

 

The soldiers really need the support of their families," said Ouellette, "It's vital to their success so they can focus on their mission."

Jack Hilton

Reporter
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Jack Hilton joined WVII ABC 7 and WFVX Fox 22 in March of 2016. He was born in Montreal, Canada but was raised in the sunshine state, Fort Lauderdale before graduating cum laude from Husson University with a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications.

Born in a famous boxing family, Jack set off toward a different career path, after the mysterious death of his uncle, Arturo Gatti, who is in the Boxing Hall of Fame.

With a heart for people, he is always looking to meet and tell the stories of those in the community. He is charismatic, funny and down to earth.

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