National Guard troops prepare for mission to Qatar with send-off at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst
WRIGHTSTOWN - Hundreds of New Jersey National Guard troops are headed back overseas.
Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst was packed with families saying their goodbyes today to more than 450 men and women preparing to deploy to Qatar.
It's one of the hardest days for the families participating in the deployment ceremony that kicks off a 12-month tour. "He hasn't even been back for a year yet and now he's going away again for another year but he's excited, the whole crew is excited," says Jill Noller, of Haddon Township.
The guardsmen are headed to their mobilization station at Fort Bliss, Texas.
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Guard officials were on hand to wish the troops well. "As someone who's deployed myself, you realize the fastest way to get back to your family is to get going, start the mission, finish the mission and come back honorably," says New Jersey's adjutant general, Brig. Gen. Michael Cunniff
Guard officials say this deployment has nothing to do with trouble in Iraq, but safety fears always weigh heavy on military families.
Guest speaker and Rutgers Head Football Coach Kyle Flood told the guardsmen that he's planning a military appreciation day during training camp.
Nearly one-third of the 1-114th Infantry Battalion lives in Burlington, Camden and Gloucester counties.
The guard says this deployment won't see combat. They'll be responsible for operating and protecting military bases in Qatar.