PINEVILLE, La. (WAFB) - More than 50 guardsmen with the Louisiana National Guard will deploy to Afghanistan starting this week.
The soldiers will be away from home for nearly one year. Once overseas, they will provide air movement support and medical evacuation support to ground forces.
The Louisiana National Guard’s G Company and D Company, 2nd Battalion, 238th Aviation Regiment held a deployment ceremony at the Army Aviation Support Facility #2 at Esler Field in Pineville, Sept. 6.
Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards presided over the ceremony in Pineville.
“I just want you to know, as a fellow American and as an Army Veteran, how immensely proud I am to call you my brothers and my sisters. There is no nobler calling than that of a soldier protecting life and liberty,” Edwards said. “As a fellow Louisianan and as governor of a great state, I cannot be more confident that you will execute your mission because you’re well trained, you’re well lead, and you’re disciplined.”
Among the guardsmen include two father-son teams and one married couple, according to a release from the National Guard. Father-son team, Chief Warrant Officer 3 Ricky Caldwell and Spc. Jacob Caldwell of Dry Prong, are deploying with the 2-238th.
Ricky, a pilot with G Co., is on his second deployment with the LANG. Jacob, a crew chief with G Co., is deploying for the first time.
“It’s strange and comforting to be deploying with my dad, but at the same time it’s not because we will both be gone,” Jacob said. “I’m looking forward to using all of my training and getting to do my job.”
This will be the 2-238th’s third overseas deployment since 9/11. The aviation unit is also a key part of state emergency operations and has provided search and rescue, air evacuations and support for almost every state emergency, including: Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Harvey, Shreveport forest fires, marsh fires in New Orleans, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and the multiple floods of 2016.